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Sorry NBC, 'Jersey Shore' is a success, but not MTV's biggest by a long shot

February 1, 2010 | 12:49 pm

It might be time to hire a few more fact checkers at NBC's "Today" show. There is no doubt that MTV's reality show "Jersey Shore" has turned into a minor sensation for the cable network, but it is not the biggest show in the channel's history as Jeff Rossen reported Monday morning.

In a pretty fluffy piece on "Jersey Shore," which follows a group of boisterous (or is it obnoxious?) Italian Americans partying it up in South Jersey, Rossen noted correctly that the season finale drew 4.8 million viewers, but then added that the program was "the highest rated show in MTV history."

Reality is that though "Jersey Shore" finished strong for MTV, it had a slow start and ended up averaging about 2.7 million viewers. Even its big finale numbers are nowhere near what "The Osbournes" and "Newlyweds" were averaging in their MTV heyday.

We don't mean to be nitpicky, but this seems like a pretty easy piece of information to check out. The problem is once people hear it on "Today," it becomes repeated elsewhere as fact. The clip is below, and look for Rossen's error around the 1:50 mark. A "Today" show spokeswoman said she was looking into the matter.

"Jersey Shore" cast members were on "Today" talking about their deal for a second season. The cast negotiated paychecks estimated to be in the $10,000-per-episode range. That should be plenty of dough to keep the cast in hair gel and body spray for years to come.

-- Joe Flint

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