Italian-American groups are mobilizing for a protest campaign against ABC and its new reality show The Family.

The groups -- led by the Washington-based Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) -- say they are outraged by the negative presentation of an Italian-American family in the 10-week reality series, which premiered Tuesday night.

The OSIA, which has 600,000 members, fired the first salvo yesterday with a blistering statement blasting ABC and inviting the public to contact the show's sponsors listed on the OSIA.org Web site.

On The Family, 10 relatives are living together in a Palm Beach mansion, where they are vying for a $1 million "trust." Capturing the prize requires that family members betray each other, leading to the ejection of one of them each week.

"Clearly, ABC is cashing in on the nation's fascination with The Sopranos, " the OSIA statement said. "But while Tony and his kin are fiction, Uncle Mike, Aunt Donna and her relatives are all too real yet strangely familiar. They are loud ignorant and low-class, just like the Italian-American-as-buffoon traditionally portrayed on television and in the movies by the likes of John Travolta and Tony Danza."

ABC denies it intended to portray Italian-Americans negatively. It just came out that way, a network spokesman said.