Several hundred thousand Norwegians were expected to settle down in front of their TVs again Monday evening to watch the latest episode of NRK’s new TV thriller Mammon, and they’ll soon be joined by many more viewers around the world. The show has become the latest NRK production to be sold overseas, despite some mixed reviews at home and a drop in viewership.
After a strong debut over New Year with nearly a million viewers in Norway tuning in, the show dropped to around 888,000 viewers when its third episode aired nationwide last Monday. Episode Two had shown a fall-off as well, down to around 918,000.
The show, which features an investigative reporter uncovering a major corruption scandal in Norway, has drawn criticism for some unrealistic situations and for the slurred speech of its main characters. Even many Norwegians, not just foreign residents watching the show, have complained that it’s hard for them to understand what the characters are saying.
Overseas viewers, though, will have the advantage of automatic subtitles to follow the dialogue in a show that’s latching on to the popularity of Scandinavian crime and thrillers. NRK, also behind the success of the Lilyhammer television series and the “slow TV” craze, could announce earlier this month that Mammon has been sold to broadcasters in Germany, the UK, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria for NOK 6.5 million, more than NRK Drama’s total sales the past five years.
Producer Vegard Stenberg Eriksen told Aftenposten that the sale is a recognition of those creating it, along with being a “door opener” for other Norwegian TV series. Los Angeles-based 20th Century Fox has also bought the rights to create an American version of Mammon for US audiences.