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MTV, FX rookies’ ratings rip

'Osbournes' sets ratings record for cabler; 'Shield' still strong

NEW YORK — March is shaping up to be a banner month for two rookie series, MTV’s “The Osbournes” and FX’s “The Shield,” which are continuing to pile up some of the most impressive Nielsen ratings in the history of basic cable.

For the third week in a row, “The Osbournes” set a new-series rating record for MTV. For its March 19 cablecast at 10:30 p.m., the half-hour “Osbournes” racked up a 3.6 rating in cable homes, which was 13% higher than last week’s rating.

Demo derby

“The Osbournes,” a reality show that follows Ozzy Osbourne and his dysfunctional family, also harvested a 5.0 rating among 12-34 year olds, MTV’s demo target. That number was 22% higher than last week’s rating in the category; MTV delivered more 12-34s than any other program in the time period, broadcast or cable.

After setting a cable record on March 12 for the premiere showing of a new series, “The Shield” fell off only marginally in its second week on March 19, to a 3.7 rating in cable homes. Even more impressive, 66% of that household number consisted of adults 18-49, a demographic that advertisers will pay a premium to reach.

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