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The Osbournes forced off air over contract row

The eagerly awaited series about the rocker Ozzy Osbourne and family which has won huge audiences in the United States has been forced off air in Britain due to a contractual wrangle.

MTV was due to broadcast the show from Sunday, but has pulled it from schedules at the last moment "due to contractual issues yet to be resolved".

The fly-on-the-wall series follows the real-life dramas of the family led by Osbourne, the former Black Sabbath frontman renowned for his years of boozing and drugs use.

It has attracted 8 million viewers in the US, making Osbourne a star and earning him an invitation to visit the White House. He has been added to the bill of the Queen's Jubilee concert in June.

An MTV spokesman said The Osbournes will premiere on UK television shortly and apologised for the delay.

ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 were all thought to be keen to screen the show but MTV said no UK terrestrial broadcaster would be able to buy the rights until after it had screened the series.