Just How Much Are 'Osbournes' Worth?

05/30/2002 AT 11:00 AM EDT

It's official, and the deal is done: "The Osbournes" will be back for a new season on MTV, and the family responsible for making it such a hit have lots of cash for their efforts, according to widespread news reports and a Wednesday announcement by the music cable channel itself. The Associated Press says that the new deal -- described only as "lucrative," as a dollar figure was not announced -- threatens to transform MTV into "OzTV." Still, onlookers are sure having fun speculating on the amount of moolah the Osbournes will be taking to their offbeat home. "Just how much coin the cable channel will lay out for the monstrously successful reality series remains open to interpretation," reported Variety, which quoted experts as saying that after reruns and syndication rights the family would end up with as much as $20 million. "In the end," adds The New York Times, "the deal, the biggest in MTV's history, is being valued at $5 million to $7 million by MTV and more than $20 million by agents representing the Osbournes." The negotiations were said to have taken several months, reports The Times' TV columnist Bill Carter, with agents for the Osbournes playing "hardball." MTV execs told Carter that the Osbournes's representatives "changed the terms of the deal almost daily." Negotiations also started with one team of agents only to switch to another group. At one point, says The Times, talks were taken over by the family's British accountant. But now the dust has settled and the ink on the contract is reportedly dry. "It's proven to be a seminal show for MTV," network president Van Toffler told the AP about the surprise success of "The Osbournes." "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." And now they're to be paid handsomely for it.

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