– It's been four years since the mumble-mouthed and perpetually befuddled Ozzy Osbourne (search) and his family of anti-Waltons first let MTV cameras into their Beverly Hills mansion and "The Osbournes" (search) became the most talked about show in America.
But most viewers have moved on, and tomorrow night "The Osbournes" will conclude with a special final episode in which Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly seek family counseling from Dr. Phil.
It's been a wild ride on a crazy train. Sharon got cancer, Jack and Kelly both went through drug rehab and Ozzy faced one near-death experience after another.
Last February, he flipped an all-terrain vehicle and wound up in a coma for eight days.
Nine months later, in November, Ozzy confronted a burglar who had broken into their second home, outside London. The guy made off with more than $3 million in jewels, including Sharon's wedding ring, and hasn't been heard from since.
"It's been the longest four years of my life," Ozzy tells The Post. "So many highs and so many lows."
And now that the "The Osbournes" wave has fallen, Ozzy hopes to catch a new one.
He and Kelly recorded a remake of the Black Sabbath song "Changes" that went to No. 1 in England last year.
And, on Tuesday, he'll release "Prince of Darkness," (search) a four-disc box set from his solo years, plus 10 newly recorded covers of songs including John Lennon's "In My Life" and "Working Class Hero."
After several missed connections, the Post finally caught Ozzy on his cell phone last week -- and he graciously apologized, explaining, "I had a late night last night."
Q:What were you doing?
A:Just watching TV. Well, my wife was watching TV. She has to watch the f-ing television every night before she goes to sleep. It drives me nuts.
Q:I've heard you have trouble sleeping.
A:I've had a sleeping problem all my life.
Q:Do you drink coffee?
A:I don't drink alcohol. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs or anything anymore. I have one cup of tea in the morning, and that's it. But it's a large cup.
Q:Are you glad to have the MTV cameras out of your life?
A:We haven't been filmed for a few months, but we taped that Dr. Phil episode last Saturday, and all the camera guys were there, pushing and shoving. I got kind of hot around the collar. I thought, "F-ing hell, how did we live with that for all that time?"
Q:What's harder, being a rock star or a TV star?
A:Television is far more ruthless than the record industry, because they'll drop you like a hot penny.
Q:Is that what MTV is doing?
A:No, MTV has been great.
Q:When did you know "The Osbournes" was a hit?
A:That first year, they would tell me these numbers -- 4.7, 9.8 -- and I didn't understand what it meant. But I asked this guy, "If the show was a record, how many have I sold?" And he says, "It's off the Richter scale, man. It's 300 f-ing 'Thrillers.'"
Q:Was it fun?
A:At the beginning, it was great. But you know, if you're going to a party every night, the first couple nights, you go, "Hey, hey, this is fun!" But on the third night, you're going to be like, "F-ing hell, another party." Eventually, you're going to get pissed off.
Q:What's your favorite part of the new box set?
A:I've only done seven solo albums in my career, and they've made me do f-ing 24 compilation records. So I wanted something new this time. The covers album was enjoyable because they're songs I like. I mean, some I'm not that keen on. But the production's great.
Q:I read you're selling your house in Beverly Hills.
A:Everybody keeps telling me that. Maybe Sharon is, but I don't know f- all about it. My wife! Do you know how many houses we've had since we've been together? We've had 27 houses in 25 years. When we moved into this one, I said, "Darling, can we let the paint dry before we move again?"
Q:Tell me about that crazy robbery last fall. I heard you fought with the guy?
A:Believe me, I'm not the heroic type. But I'm a sleepwalker, and now and again, I go wandering around the house in my sleep.
Q:How did you catch him?
A:Well, I was stark naked, right? I was wandering around, and I got into Sharon's dressing room for some reason. I didn't even know where the f- I was, but I opened my eyes and saw this figure hunched over the cupboard. He made a run for the window, and like a idiot, I went after him.
Q:I read you had him in a headlock, and he was hanging halfway out the window.
A:I had a million thoughts going through my head. I could have snapped his neck so easily. But there are laws in England, you know. So, for whatever reason, I dropped him. He must have injured himself with his fall out the window, but he shouldn't have been in my house anyway.
Q:Why does so much weird stuff happen to you?
A: If I knew the answer to that, man, I'd make a zillion f- ing dollars.