Return to Press ListingsIn_the_Press.htmlIn_the_Press.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0
All About UsLMNO_Company_Profile.htmlLMNO_Company_Profile.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0
What’s On TV?Whats_On_TV.htmlWhats_On_TV.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0
Be On TV!Be_On_TV.htmlBe_On_TV.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0
Contact UsContact_Us.htmlContact_Us.htmlshapeimage_7_link_0
Cool LinksCool_Links.htmlCool_Links.htmlshapeimage_9_link_0

Would you watch 13 hours of speed-knitting?

Last month 1.3 million Norwegians — 25 percent of the country’s population of 5 million — did just that in what’s become a programming phenomenon called Slow TV.

Pioneered by Norwegian public broadcaster NRK2 in 2009, Slow TV is characterized by hours and hours of continuous coverage of fixed cameras on a subject or event — think of it as the television equivalent of those viral online Puppy Cams.

Past programs have included a seven-and-a-half hour train journey, a 134-hour coastal cruise, 12 hours of firewood burning and 18 hours of salmon fishing — we’re talking three or four hours before the first fish bit.

And now producers are betting Americans will be just as entranced by this slow-moving entertainment.
Last month, US production company LMNO Productions (TLC’s “The Little Couple”) acquired the rights to bring the Slow TV format stateside.

Strategically placed cameras catch all the “action” on a high-speed Norwegian train.

“It doesn’t compete for your attention. In a world where we have this many channels and every channel has a docu-soap about some outrageous personality who lives unapologetically and sort of yells at us, as television viewers . . . This was just the opposite,” says Lori Rothschild Ansaldi, senior VP of development at LMNO.

“This one allows you to watch and just sit back and relax. Not in a boring way but in a really ‘that’s different’ sort of way. It allows you to breathe.”

Of course, it’s a vague idea to adapt. What LMNO actually acquired is the rights to the technology that makes it possible to be live for many consecutive hours — the art of camera-switching and the option to use the trained Norwegian crews.

But for as static as Slow TV is on-screen, it became an interactive event in Norway when people tracked the cruise ship’s five-day journey on social media, and went out to the coastline for their 15 minutes of fame — even the Queen came out to greet the boat.

“It stands out, it is so different from everything else on TV. I think that in itself is an important reason [for its popularity],” says Rune Møklebust, head of programming at NRK. “Apparently, people love to watch a journey or a process in its original length.

“[It’s] not edited — this is real reality TV.”

A popular Slow TV show.

And Møklebust thinks the format can definitely translate to an American audience.

“They’ll have to work out what do to, what will work in the US,” he says. “Then I think it will work for the same reasons as here.”

But don’t expect the American version to be speed-knitting a US flag. “It’s just not part of our culture,” Rothschild says. Instead, LMNO is looking for American pastimes to document — current ideas being kicked around include observing wildlife, people-watching at a train station, a cross-country road trip or watching the seasons change at a dangerous railway passage.

The ultimate topic will depend on which network picks up the format, envisioned as a once-a-quarter event program. LMNO currently has four networks interested (both broadcast and cable) and Rothschild said Slow TV could be premiering on television sets as early as summer 2014.

Not everyone in the production community is convinced of its cross-cultural appeal, however.

“It’s a perfect example of how insane our industry is,” says one US reality producer.

“I think it is representative of a trend that we are now so unwilling to be original [in our formats] we’re literally going to produce shows about watching paint dry.”

15821 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 320, Encino CA 91436 / 818.380.8000

Monday, December 2, 2013

Norway’s ‘Slow TV’ format coming to US

By Andrea Morabito