MTV's April spike

The Osbournes translates into a big $!@*!# hit
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Skip the champagne. They're probably biting the heads off bats these days at MTV. In April, cable's strange flavor of the month, The Osbournes, propelled MTV to its best ratings month in more than a year.

MTV notched a 1.2 average in prime for the month, up 33% from its first-quarter average, according to Nielsen. The Osbournes
scored April's highest single-show rating, a 5.9 rating on April 23, and shoved the usual winner, TNN's World Wrestling Federation Raw, to second place (a 5.2 on April 1). Two Osbournes
episodes earlier in April registered a 5.2 rating each, but Raw
delivered a few more households.

The Osbournes
has more than doubled its audience since its March 5 debut garnered a respectable 2.8 rating. MTV's mainstay teens have tuned in from the beginning and may have actually understood much of what Ozzie said. But then The Osbournes
attracted mainstream attention, becoming fodder for late-night TV and obsequious magazine covers. "Adults have been pouring in since The Osbournes
has gotten so much publicity," said Lifetime's head of research Tim Brooks.

The Real World XI
, Tuesday-night lead-in to The Osbournes, is a workhorse, pulling in a 4.5 rating April 9 and 4.4 April 23.

Lifetime led all networks in prime time for April, with a 2.2 average; Television for Women's latest original movie, We Were the Mulvaneys, collected a 4.7 rating April 8. Nickelodeon followed in second with a 1.9 average rating, and USA, TNT and TBS tied for third with a 1.7. Four of the top five networks showed ratings growth in April.

Fox News Channel held its top spot among cable news nets, with a 1.2 prime time average. CNN improved slightly in April to a 0.9 rating, and MSNBC lagged with a 0.4.

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