NEW YORK – Ozzy Osbourne and his family, who swiftly became cultural icons in MTV's most popular series ever, will open their home life to the cameras once again.
MTV announced a second season for The Osbournes on Wednesday in a lucrative deal that threatens to turn the network into "OzTV."
The reality sitcom that depicted the addled rock star, his wife Sharon, daughter Kelly and son Jack alternating swearing at and showing their love for one another drew nearly 8 million viewers at its peak last month — unprecedented numbers for the cable network.
"It's proven to be a seminal show for MTV," network president Van Toffler said. "Part of the charm is that it was so unexpected, and I believe the reason it works is the juxtaposition of the freakiest, weirdest human on the planet in the most traditional of situations."
The first season consisted of only 10 episodes, repeated relentlessly. Wednesday's deal is for 20 episodes that will begin filming next month and air in the fall.
MTV wouldn't comment on the financial terms. It is believed the Osbourne family will receive $5 million for the upcoming season, with the potential to make much more if the ratings stay high, if the show is sold internationally and if there's wide interest in ancillary products like T-shirts.
"I hope the Osbournes get incredibly wealthy on this show and it works well for both of us," Toffler said.
Representatives for the Osbournes did not immediately return a call for comment. Sharon Osbourne was quoted in MTV's news release as calling the experience "absolutely (expletive) amazing."
The deal has been long rumored, with Sharon and Kelly saying weeks ago that the family had agreed to continue the show. But MTV insisted the complex contract wasn't finalized until this week.
MTV cameras may go on the road with the "Ozzfest" concert tour this summer and do some filming at the family's home in England. But despite security concerns — the family's California neighborhood was inundated by boisterous sightseers — Toffler said the series would be set primarily in that home.
One big difference in the second season will be the family's newfound celebrity. Toffler said it won't be ignored, but MTV doesn't want to spend too much time on it.
"You don't want to take away that organic magic that happens when the dog pees on the rug and Ozzy freaks out and calls Sharon," he said.
The family has moved swiftly to capitalize on the show's success. It has signed a deal with Simon & Schuster to publish two books. Sharon Osbourne has also agreed to be host of a special on Queen Elizabeth's jubilee on MTV's sister network, VH1.
MTV has also had discussions with other celebrities, such as rapper P. Diddy, about similar series, but no agreements have been reached.
Although MTV said Wednesday it will air a series of Osbourne specials this summer, including coverage of Ozzfest and "a very special dinner" with the family, Toffler promised to guard against overexposure. The repeated reruns of the first set of episodes will slow down this summer, he said.
The danger is that a series that rapidly became a sensation can just as rapidly fall out of favor.
"I basically told (Sharon) to hibernate," Toffler said.