While local media was full of reports about how Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)’s hit series Skam (Shame) had been sold to the US, its creators cautioned that it won’t be portraying the sometimes shocking lifestyles of Norwegian teenagers to US viewers.
“It will be a completely different series,” Håkon Moslet of NRK told newspaper Dagsavisen. “It’s not us who’ll be producing Shame in the USA. Simon Fuller’s company, XIX Entertainment, will have to figure out how they’re going to do it.”
Moslet is nonetheless glad that Fuller, perhaps best known as the man behind Spice Girls and American Idol, was sufficiently interested in Skam to buy rights to it. “I think Fuller sees that Skam (which tracks the lives of teenagers in a format over several platforms, breaking new dramatic ground along the way) is something genuinely new in a TV branch that maybe doesn’t have so much innovation.” Skam has dealt with issues such as sexual assault, drug and alcohol use and homosexuality among teenagers.
The series already has attracted worldwide attention in addition to the roughly 1.2 million unique users clicking into NRK’s Skam page every week. Moslet said that 85 percent of the traffic is coming from Scandinavia, but viewers are also clicking in from the US, Russia, Thailand and China. NRK hasn’t engaged in any international marketing, with the overseas growth starting when two Norwegian teens living in Copenhagen started spreading the word about Skam in Denmark.
“It created a lot of buzz down there, and then Sweden and the other countries started coming along,” Moslet said. “Folks find us on social media, and on YouTube, where fans have even done their own dubbing (for viewers who can’t understand Norwegian). Now Skam is living its own life, and we lost control long ago.”