OZZY HIT WITH TWO LAWSUITS:
Ozzy Osbourne’s legal fees are mounting up.
The “Prince of F—ing Darkness” and his wife, Sharon, are being sued by a Hollywood producer who claims the heavy-metal family stole his idea for their hit MTV series, The Osbournes.
Gary Binkow is accusing Ozzy and Sharon of fraud and breach of contract, after he purportedly met several times with the couple and with execs from Miramax Television in 1999 and 2000 in the hopes of creating “a real-life docu-sitcom” based on the family.
Binkow says he even registered a treatment for the proposed series with the Writers Guild of America in January 2000. His proposal says the series would “showcase the trials and tribulations of real-life rock star Ozzy Osbourne” and added that “the audience shouldn’t really know if the show is scripted or not.”
“In developing the show, [the Osbournes] misappropriated [Binkow’s] idea and concept without his knowledge and consent and without compensating” him, according to the lawsuit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Binkow is executive producer for Neverland, a film starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet currently shooting in London. His lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
A spokeswoman for the Osbournes dismissed Binkow’s claims, but had no further comment.
Their legal troubles, however, don’t stop there. Ozzy also is being sued by two musicians after Osbourne removed their work from his first two solo albums in order to avoid paying them royalties.
Bass player Bob Daisley and drummer Lee Kerslake, who performed on Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madman in the early ’80s, say Ozzy has rereleased the albums–with their original parts replaced by newly recorded bass and drum tracks.
“They sound awful,” Daisley told London’s Daily Express. “They are nothing like the originals. It is an insult to us but more importantly to the fans.”
The whole legal battle goes back to 1998, when Daisley and Kerslake filed lawsuits claiming Osbourne, his wife and manager Sharon and Sony Music and Epic Records cheated them out of royalties for their work on the albums. In a statement, Sharon Osbourne made it clear why Ozzy decided to rerecord the tracks.
“Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake have harassed Ozzy and our family for several years,” she said. “Because of their abusive and unjust behavior, Ozzy wanted to remove them from these recordings. We turned a negative into a positive by adding a fresh sound to the original albums.”
Daisley and Kerslake’s case has been set for trial early next year.
All told, it’s been a rough couple months for the Osbourne clan, who has agreed to a second season or their MTV smash. Earlier this month, Sharon revealed that she’s been diagnosed with colon cancer. After undergoing surgery, she revealed that the cancer has spread and she will have to undergo months of chemotherapy.
Ozzy is planning take a three-week break from his headlining spot on the Ozzfest concert tour to be with his wife. He’s going to leave the tour after Sunday’s stop in Atlanta, and he’s planning to return for the August 22 show in Denver.
“This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life, but I’m sure that everyone out there will understand,” he said in a statement. “I’m putting on a brave face here, guys, but I’m burning up inside. I have to go home.”
Mark Armstrong courtesy of E! Online