This I swear...the celeb reality show has been re-'Bourne. With roughly 3 million viewers tuning in to MTV's Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, and production on season 2 starting any day now (the first-season finale airs Oct. 21), endearingly ditsy pop singer Jessica Simpson and her hunky groom, former 98° member Nick Lachey, are this year's Osbournes. Or are they? The 23-year-old songbird reveals that the pair originally agreed to a second-season option, thus foregoing their chance for an Ozzylike pay raise now. ''MTV learned their lesson from the Osbournes,'' she laments.
But there must be hope for Nick and Jessica to make off with millions, right? When buffalo wings fly! They're perusing merchandising possibilities (ooh, bobbleheads!), but they better act fast: MTV's fickle followers may have moved on by the show's 2004 return.
Like the Ozzman, Jessica's learning that a hit MTV show can broaden your audience but doesn't guarantee blockbuster CD sales. In fact, Jessica's third album, In This Skin, has sold a modest 178,000 copies since its Aug. 19 debut, according to Nielsen SoundScan. ''[The show] is not doing as much for our music careers as the label would like it to,'' says Jessica. Plus, her wedding tome, I Do: Achieving Your Dream Wedding, isn't topping best-seller lists, but it doesn't exactly target her core fan base: 12- to 14-year-olds.
Still, the future looks bright: Nick's album, SoulO, is due Nov. 11. Meanwhile, the missus is planning a national tour of high school auditoriums and hoping to star in the film version of I Dream of Jeannie. The bubbly pop starlet as the next Barbara Eden? Now that's a no-brainer.