The numbers look good at Viacom (NYSE:VIA). Revenue shot up 32% to hit $3.6 billion in the fourth quarter, and it keeps getting better the lower down the income statement you go. Operating profits more than doubled. Diluted earnings per share more than quadrupled, to $0.69. The showing was well above the $0.58 per share in earnings on $3.2 billion in revenue that analysts had been expecting.

Reality isn't that kind, though. The growth wasn't exactly organic. The acquisition of DreamWorks doubled revenue at Viacom's filmed entertainment business to $1.6 billion. Without that spurt, its flagship media networks division shot up just 4% higher during the period.

It's also important to put the prior year's quarter into perspective. A media conglomerate like Viacom is always in a state of flux, and in the fourth quarter of 2005 it was slapped with income tax liabilities that sucked out 67% of the juice from the operating profit from continuing operations (which makes this year's quarter look better by comparison).

It was still a good quarter. It just wasn't the great quarter it appears to be at first glance.

Viacom is trying to morph itself into a growth stock after shedding its CBS (NYSE:CBS) appendage last year. It hasn't been easy, especially with the market rewarding the supposedly slower-growing CBS instead. CBS has seen its stock inch 20% higher since the split, while Viacom shares have actually lost a little ground.

Viacom's cold hasn't been contagious. Industry rivals like Disney (NYSE:DIS) and News Corp. (NYSE:NWS) have actually posted significant stock gains in that time.

Viacom has responded to the stagnancy. CEO Tom Freston was let go back in September. A corporate shakeup was announced at Viacom's MTV last month. The new chieftain is especially motivated to make Viacom work. His compensation package is light on cash, but heavy on equity. Naturally, CEO Philippe Dauman isn't the only one waiting for the stock to start climbing again. Investors are notably antsy. They have put up with chunky severance packages, international restructuring charges, and a digital strategy that has gone for bunt singles instead of the long ball in the near term.

Let's hope that a good quarter is the catalyst to a great year in 2007. The rest of the industry isn't just going to stand there and wait for Viacom to catch up. It has to start running on its own now.

Want to turn the channel to see what else is on?.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz doesn't know if he still wants his MTV, but he does know his youngest son is glued to Nickelodeon. He owns shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.