Jack Osbourne is a Renaissance man -- and a busy one. Since making his household-name debut on MTV reality show "The Osbournes" a decade ago, he's hosted shows like "Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie" and "Saving Planet Earth," posed semi-naked to raise awareness of testicular cancer, directed a music video for dad Ozzy, and moved into TV production. And he's got a baby daughter at home.
His latest project, "Alpha Dogs," introduces us to the work of the Vohne Liche Kennels in Indiana, where the world's top police and military dogs are trained. The show premieres tonight at 9 PM on NatGeo Wild, and showcases the program's secrets and successes (and one semi-failure, the adorable Kirby). Osbourne spoke to us earlier this week about "Alpha Dogs," his new job as a correspondent for new music-news show "Fuse News," and juggling all his projects.
"Executive producer" can mean a lot of things, involvement-wise. How involved were you in the beginning of the project, getting it started and finding [Vohne Liche]?
I found the guys in 2007, and I've kind of been cultivating the relationship until end of 2011, early 2012, and they finally agreed that they were willing to do a show. A longtime friend of mine named Rob Warsoff, he was a show runner on "Duck Dynasty" at the time, and I convinced him to start a company with me; we started Schweet Entertainment …
So, 2007 is a while ago. What was the convincing process like? Were they reluctant to give away trade secrets, or it just took a while for everything to line up?
It was…they were reluctant to build themselves up, and kind of let people look into a world which is for the most part pretty secretive? All the guys are … worried about certain contracts, and people not wanting to work with them because they're on TV, and if certain things are disclosed, you know, it could bring all sorts of government heat on them, so, that was the reluctance. After a while, I think me kind of every now and then calling Kenny [Licklider, the Vohne Liche Kennels founder], it planted a seed, and when it came time, he was, he felt comfortable, he called me up and was like, "Let's do this."
So how did you find those guys? How did you know about them?
I did a show years ago for CBS called "Armed and Famous," where I became a reserve police officer in Indiana, in a city called Muncie, and I maintained my police status for five years, and I became good friends with [the head of] K-9, the department I was on, and one day, in 2007, he took me out to the kennels to meet Kenny, and that's how we became friends.
There's a part of Brooklyn near our office that happens to be home to several K-9 schools, training schools and guard-dog academies; we'd be pretty interested to see a season of the show about the Brooklyn version. Is that something that might happen in the future, or do you think you're going to stick with Vohne Liche?
If the success of Vohne Liche is there, and we continue to get orders for more episodes, of course we'll move away from Vohne Liche, but -- I'm not opposed to spinoff shows; it's something that we discussed, and I'm kind of locked into, to a degree. Obviously there's schools in Louisiana, Florida, and around L.A., a bunch of these facilities across the country, so it's something that we are open to.
This is a pretty busy week for you, since "Fuse News" debuted yesterday. Are you having any trouble sort of keeping these things straight in your head: "Now I need to think about dogs; now I need to think about the Grammys"?
It's definitely -- it's been tough, and I'm also in the middle of filming the show I do for Syfy ["Paranormal Highway"], so, generally a lot of projects, but that's where my good support team comes into play.
As a correspondent for "Fuse News," are you going to be working on any long-form, reported stories that we should look out for?
I think once the show really finds its legs, I am looking forward to doing more stuff like that. One piece I am working on, gun violence in relation to music, I'm really kind of getting in depth with it, talking to psychologists, things like that. Something that's obviously very topical, with the tragedies that have occurred, but I think it's, you know, an issue, [since] the dawn of aggressive or hard rock, or rap music, people have always kind of said, "Oh, you know, it's music, and entertainment which is causing people to do this," and we're gonna be investigating that subject.
"Alpha Dogs" airs Fridays at 9 PM on NatGeo; "Fuse News" airs daily at 8 PM starting next week on Fuse.
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