MTV stews up Sunday prankfest

'Punk'd,' 'Jackass' spinoffs get cabler push

Teens can’t get any love on Sundays so MTV is jumping into the void.

The music net will unveil a lineup to seize teens on Sunday, anchored by the heavily hyped second season of “Punk’d” and a pair of “Jackass” spin-offs.

Given the tepid hand dealt by the Big Four season-to-date, the Viacom-owned cabler’s “Sunday Stew” stands a good chance of walloping the both the broadcast and cable competish and, more significantly, giving top-with-teens Fox a run for its 12-17 year-olds.

The cabler certainly has the ammo for such a move, coming off the success of surprise hit “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica.” Ashton Kutcher’s hidden-camera skein “Punk’d” was a ratings winner for the cabler last season, notching a 2.7 rating in teens 12-17 and averaging 2.8 million viewers overall.

MTV is betting that “Jackass” alumni will run with their “Punk’d” lead-in.

“Viva La Bam” follows Bam Margera as he lives at home and wreaks havoc on his unsuspecting parents. “Wildboyz” documents Steve-O and Chris Pontius as they invade different spots around the globe and try to mingle with the locals.

Net has also revived “One Bad Trip” to cap off the night airing at 10:30 p.m.

By comparison, for young people on Sundays to-date:

Third season of ABC’s spy drama “Alias” sniffed out a so-so 2.4/7 in teens. The WB’s frosh drama “Tarzan” was on par, averaging a 2.3/7 in the same demo. The launch of the Jerry Bruckheimer hour “Skin” crawled out of the Fox gate.

And HBO’s Sunday threat is looking less intimidating these days with freshmen “Carnivale” and “K Street” proving to be far less formidable foes than its predecessors “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.”

Elsewhere on the sked: CBS airs a movie and NBC remains strong among older auds with “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.”

“Those shows are all very respectable, but they don’t show up as favorites among teens in our research,” MTV entertainment prexy Brian Graden says. And as far as HBO, he quipped, “The people who watch shows with those sensibilities aren’t likely to watch Sunday Stew.”

NBC ratings analyst Tom Bierbaum points out that since broadcasters have gravitated toward drama-driven Sundays, the night is wide open for a network to go after the high school set.

“There is definitely opportunity on Sunday. WB and Fox have shows that aim sort of young, but by and large the networks aren’t really after that demo,” he says. “CBS tried going younger with some comedies last year, but now everyone is pretty much back to dramas.”

MTV’s real test, however, comes next week when Fox unleashes its teen tentpole “Malcolm in the Middle” Nov. 2. Last season of the half hour averaged a healthy 7.0 rating in teens.

“Fox is certainly strong with teens on Sundays. ‘American Idol’ and ‘Joe Millionaire’ led teens when they were on,” Bierbaum says.

“But with no strong reality show on right now, MTV can go in and be successful there. Even if you’ve got the most powerful teen show on the schedule, you’re still dividing up viewership with 100 choices in the average home. There are a lot of diverse teen tastes to pursue.”

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