Future Sonny and Chers are out there

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It's an idea so unlikely, so bizarre, and so ill-advised that 48 hours after the news initially leaked, I still can't quite wrap my head around it.

Ozzy Osbourne will soon embrace his inner Sonny and Cher.

This week, Fox announced that it would pick up six episodes of a new television series starring the rock icon, his wife, Sharon, and children Jack and Kelly. Here's the kicker -- it's a variety show.

That's right, the man who once wailed War Pigs will perform in comedic sketches, introduce the occasional special guest and perhaps sing a song or two. Is there anything, anything at all, less metal than that? It's like Metallica having a book club.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against the idea of a variety show. I loved them as a kid during the format's 1970s heyday, and would love to see what sort of contemporary approach producers might come up with. I just don't believe the Osbourne family -- as sitcom zany as they can be -- should be the linchpin for such an endeavor.

Here are my picks for acts that could pull off the variety show format:

ANDY SAMBERG: The Saturday Night Live regular already has some experience with the format. He has proven himself to be multitalented (his Lazy Sunday is the pop chart-topper that never was). But the most recognizable name to break out on SNL in years has proven something of a big-screen dud (Hot Rod, anyone?).

ELTON JOHN: Musicians have a long, and sometimes proud, history of hosting variety shows. Sir Elton has the deep catalog, star connections and the sharp wit required to carry this sort of thing off.

KELLIE PICKLER: I interviewed Ms. Pickler a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, I think her 15 minutes are nearly up. She might be able to extend them to a half-hour by playing up her naive-but-charming persona and her winning way around lightweight country.

JACK BLACK: He's a comic who has some real musical chops and would not seem out of place migrating between the two. His price tag might be high now, but lay him low with a couple of under-performing movies and he'll be primed for prime time.

DAVE GROHL: Here's a little secret about one of rock's more successful stars. He's a really funny guy. Right now, he's only able to unleash that hidden talent during the odd interview and between song banter. I'd love to see what he did with it as a regular gig. Besides, a variety hour hosted by the man behind Foo Fighters and behind the drums on those classic Nirvana tunes might actually rock.

Those are my picks. Who are yours? Send your ideas for a sure-fire variety show hit to steven.uhles@augustachronicle. com. I'll list some of your ideas in an upcoming column.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

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cbbaker 07/11/08 - 09:57 am
Only if you're defining

Only if you're defining 'variety show' as SNL was the 70s its heyday. I'm probably dating myself here, but real variety shows had their zenith much earlier, in the 50s and 60s (can you say, "Ed Sulivan"?). SNL was, in addition to the birth of mainstream TV sketch comedy (as opposed to sitcoms), a parody, so to speak, of the older variety shows.

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