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MTV and Osbournes Could Strike $20 Million Deal

By:
May 03, 2002 | 10:35am EDT

It looks as though MTV could shell out a record $20 million to keep America's favorite dysfunctional family on its airwaves.

The Osbournes has proved to be the biggest hit series in MTV's 21-year history. The half-hour series, which premieres new episodes Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m., has also become the most-watched series on basic cable.

The runaway popularity of The Osbournes has undoubtedly raised the family's bargaining power.

The deal, which has been in the works since last month, will be a huge raise compared to the $200,000 the family pulled in for the first 10-episode season. It would also represent the largest talent payday ever for a cable series, according to Variety.

Although nothing has been signed yet, the deal under discussion guarantees MTV a second batch of episodes of the show, with an option for a third. However, the amount of money MTV shells out for the show could vary depending on the success of the second season. If the network chooses not to go through with a third season, its financial obligation to the family would be reduced.

In return for the large, but undisclosed, amount of money, MTV is expected to be allowed to air each episode dozens of times rather than three to four times a week.

And $20 million is nothing compared to the backend revenue and profits the Osbournes stand to make from merchandising and marketing related to the show. Kelly Osbourne is already covering Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" with Incubus for Sony Music's series soundtrack album.

A spokeswoman for MTV confirmed with Variety that negotiations are underway but would not discuss the deal's financial terms.

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