BBC buys rights to ‘Lilyhammer’

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A Norwegian-produced television series that’s already broken ratings records twice since its premiere in Norway is also now set to be shown on the BBC. Lilyhammer, starring Steven Van Zandt, also starts airing this week in the US and Canada.

An executive for BBC4 told The Guardian that the show combines American humor with Norwegian values to create a comedy-drama about cultural conflicts.

Producer Lasse Hallberg told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that the BBC had been interested in the series for “quite some time” and he was glad a deal had been struck. “They’ve been enthusiastic since they saw a trailer last year,” Hallberg told NRK, which also expects national broadcasters in Sweden, Finland and Germany to buy the show as well.

Lilyhammer, which started running on NRK1 January 25 after delays tied to concerns over violations of product placement rules in Norway, broke another record in its second week, when more than a million Norwegians tuned in. That was even larger than the audience that saw the premiere, which also had broken NRK ratings records for a TV series.

Lilyhammer’s ratings gave NRK a market share of 57 percent in its time slot, and amounted to around 20 percent of the entire Norwegian population, with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg among those saying they looked forward to the next episode.

Views and News staff