Season 2 of 'The Osbournes'
Everett Collection

Before the Kardashians became America’s first family of reality TV, the Osbournes reigned. Their show—which followed the antics of Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne, his wife Sharon, and two of their children, Jack and Kelly—was MTV’s highest-rated program in its first season and won the second-ever Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program. Viewers were primed and ready for season 2, with ratings 84% higher for that premiere than for the first—and for good reason. The second season of The Osbournes leaned further into celebreality and couldn’t elide serious matters: it followed Sharon as she dealt with a cancer diagnosis and tracked the family as they lived out the not-always-positive effects of newfound fame. The season also set the stage for a glut of reality shows about semi-famous families that would arrive in the early-to-mid-2000s, from Hogan Knows Best to Gene Simmons Family Jewels, all of which later gave way to the juggernaut that was Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The Osbournes tapped into a universal truth: watching family dynamics play out—among people who are not our own family members, with an added dose of riches and fame—is fascinating. —Mahita Gajanan

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