The self-styled "Prince of F---ing Darkness" is rapidly becoming the king of all media thanks to a lucrative new deal that will put the seemingly omnipresent The Osbournes on video.
Miramax has coughed up a reported $7 million to put the first two seasons of the smash MTV reality show on DVD and VHS.
"The Osbournes have the perfect mix of family, music and drama we've always appreciated here," says Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein. "The show's incredible following, never-before-seen footage and other DVD extras will make The Osbournes a key addition to Miramax's family of DVD and video hits."
While Weinstein wouldn't confirm the $7 million figure, the Los Angeles Times reports Miramax will pony up more than $3 million for rights to the first season, $2.8 million for the second season and another $1.25 million for family members' commentary and help promoting the DVDs.
Normally, MTV (through its Viacom-owned sister Paramount Home Entertainment) locks down exclusive control over worldwide DVD and video distribution for its own shows.
Miramax was able to snag the rights because--believe it or not--at the time the clan struck its initial deal with MTV, video and DVD sales were never discussed because no one thought the reality series would become such a megahit.
Ultimately that meant the Osbournes could dictate their own terms. As a result, MTV will have to settle for a share of the profits with Miramax.
"As soon as I discussed this project with Harvey, I knew that Miramax was the right home for The Osbournes," says Sharon Osbourne. "With the marketing plans for the DVD and video, it just had to be 'bleeping' Miramax."
So far, the Osbournes have parlayed their TV fame into more than $30 million from their TV show and ancillary sales. Crazy, but that's how it goes when you're talking about the phenomenon that is The Osbournes.
The real-life rock 'n' roll Addams Family--which includes the bat-munching Ozzy, feisty business-savvy wife Sharon and their rambunctious teens Jack and Kelly (the couple's oldest daughter, Aimee, may reportedly turn up next season)--only earned $100,000 per episode for the first season, but have cashed in ever since the show became the biggest hit in MTV history, averaging 5.3 million viewers during the first season.
In addition to the whopping $20 million they're set to receive for a second season of The Osbournes, America's favorite cuss-happy clan has landed a two-book deal, a hit soundtrack album and a torrent of related merchandise. (And that's not counting the tens of millions of dollars generated by Ozzy's album sales and Ozzfest tour.)
This, despite some industry observers suggesting The Osbournes might be reaching oversaturation.
The show also became the target of a lawsuit last week when a television producer sued the family, claiming he came up with the idea for a reality show based on the Osbournes.
Meanwhile, the family and producers at MTV are weighing how to balance the comedic lunacy of The Osbournes with the revelation that Sharon Osbourne is battling colon cancer, which will require three months of chemotherapy.
While Sharon agreed to let MTV camera crews film her treatment, it's still uncertain how the situation will be handled on screen. (Ozzy is so concerned about his wife's health that he has taken a three-week break from headlining Ozzfest to be with his wife as she begins her chemo.)
Officially, MTV is only saying it is hopeful Sharon makes a successful recovery. A spokeswoman for the cable channel said producers were taking things "one step at a time."
Miramax, meanwhile, plans to release the DVD and VHS of the first season in the late fall, just in time for the holidays and the November premiere of The Osbournes' second season.