Think Prime-Time TV in the US is Boring? At Least You Don't Live in Norway!

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

February 15th, 2013

Every single day I see comments about how dumb Revenge, Beauty and The Beast, Elementary or whatever people are into hating now is the most boring show on television and it seems commenters just can't agree on what constitutes an interesting program. However, Norwegian public television has unlocked the key to great programming: live-streamed fire! Reuters is reporting that the channel on which this special is to be broadcast (NRK) is expecting higher than usual ratings for the 12-hour prime-time fire special, which will also feature "firewood specialists" adding color commentary and cultural segments with music and poetry.

If you need a little context, in 2011 NRK broadcasted a 134 hour non-stop special featuring a cruise ship going up the Norwegian coast to the Arctic. This special garnered 3.2 million viewers (60% of Norway's population) at its most-watched point.

Perhaps we here in the US can learn something from this type of programming. What wold you like to see replace the current prime-time lineup? Snow falling? Cats sleeping? People doing the Harlem Shake? Let us know in the comments what prime-time show you think needs to be replaced...and what you would substitute it with!


  • Canadian

    A show featuring the cancellation bear finishing dinner. What else!

  • Shepherd


    lol, looks like they have digital satellite now (since early-mid 2000’s), but at 25-35 USD/mo per channel package. Ouch. The most popular seems to be TV2 sport at 16.9% penetration. The others seem to hover around 2-3%. I’m sure the same is perhaps true for Denmark for the most part. I noticed they get Vassat (Baltic station).
    But still only 3 broadcast stations and 3 basic cable (with only 80% penetration ea. for cable). Still not a whole lot of options in my book. Thanks for the link though.

  • Michael

    Denmark has a wide selection of TV channels on cable/satellite.
    The package I have at my cable provider gives me around 40 channels (of which at least 3/4 are Danish (ie the programs are either in Danish or has Danish subtitles — for instance a channel like Discovery channel has Danish subtitles) for 60 USD/mo (and I can add individual channels for 2-7 USD/mo depending on the channel).

    True, if only counting the “free” over-the-air transmission, there are only the (currently) six DR channels available (free in quotation marks, because every household with a computer/radio/TV in Denmark is required to pay “license” to the government), but again you can buy access to additional (20 or so) over-the-air channels.

    As for the topic at hand – I know there was a show here in Denmark called something like “Out on the tracks”, which was basically a camera mounted at the front of a train, and simply showed the train driving around Denmark, stopping at various stations picking up passengers etc. Different routes for different days – and yes, it was somewhat popular (although not reaching anywhere near the share of the Norwegian special).

  • Olav

    In Norway, about 2.2 million households (per 2012) have basic cable, which is about 70% of the total population. A total of 5 millions live here, so a top of 3.2 millions is quite remarkable.

  • Maximillian

    3.2 million? Man, Community would kill for numbers like that.

  • AppleStinx

    The population of Norway is roughly equivalent to the that of this San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland area. If we didn’t have so many channels, I think that a video of a giant panda watching a stack of bamboo steamers slowly cooking dim-sum would attract over 3 million viewers, easily.

  • BigBrotherFan

    Sounds so boring.

    I’d rather watch 12 hours non stop of SHOT AT LOVE eww. :S

  • Rebecca

    If they took any of my shows off the air it would free up my time to watch other shows, actually – but if they took off Whitney and The New Normal (the two shows of mine I care least about and would sacrifice them) and showed kittens and puppies playing…just anything cute from YouTube, short clips, I’d have something to watch when the other shows are on commercial breaks. Or the best clips from AFV would work, too.

  • Shepherd


    Yea, I can see that a lot has changed back there in the last 20 years. :)

  • tv#1

    Honestly, we are really spoiled here in the US with great TV. Yes there are some less than great shows, but many of them are quite good.

  • ann

    Replace decent programming with fake stars dancing around in fancy outfits. Oh, wait . . .

  • Flame

    In Germany, Super RTL used to have such a fire as nighttime program for like 6 hours or so. KIKA (Children’s Channel) does an endless repeat of an old Bernd das Brot episode for 9 hours. Also very popular: Stick a camera to the front of a train and broadcast the track and countryside.

    About the question, why not bring out the good old Austrian program break – kitten playing on a gramophone – and expand it to an hour?

  • Morgan Wick

    Heh, I’m sure some of those other channels will be going “You could watch a log burn for hours and hours, or you could watch us!”

    Then again, if you brought in a paint-drying expert and had it go on for hours and hours and otherwise made it into an “event”, I’m sure a watching-paint-dry marathon would get gerbonkers ratings even stateside.

  • One

    Nonstop Murder Network.

    (sorry, just couldn’t resist w/ that one [heh heh heh]…)

  • PinoyTVCritic


    Nonstop Murder Network.

    (sorry, just couldn’t resist w/ that one [heh heh heh]…)

    You have CBS for that…

  • One @ PinoyTVCritic

    No, they’re the Nonstop Murder Solving Network. I’m just talking about three hours a night of people getting murdered, and that’s it. Oh, and the screen is literally filled to eyeball level w/ blood and floating giblets…

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures