Norwegian talk show host Fredrik Skavlan is calling it quits after 25 years of interviewing Norwegian, Scandinavian, Nordic and eventually international newsmakers. His show that began on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) will end after the upcoming fall season, which moved over to commercial station TV2 in Norway three years ago.
Skavlan, now age 54, started out as a journalist and cartoonist for newspapers Dagbladet, Aftenposten and Morgenbladet in Oslo. His knowledge of and interest in current events, aided by a gift of gab and boyish good looks, eventually attracted the interest of NRK, which tapped him to lead talk shows that evolved into the highly acclaimed and popular Først og sist (First and last) in 1999. Its prime-time slot on Friday nights and selection of guests led to high ratings and broadcasting awards for Skavlan.
After several years leading Først og sist Skavlan got his own show in 2009 simply called Skavlan, and was by then a celebrity himself. It was eventually aired on both Swedish Television (SVT) and NRK, became a Swedish-Norwegian production and a hit throughout the Nordic countries. Skavlan’s partner is actress Marie Bonnevie, so the Norwegian-Swedish connection was both professional and personal.
The show was so successful that Skavlan eventually quit his full-time job in NRK and set up production company Monkberry, which took over the show’s production and ownership. He continued to attract guests who were major celebrities, both Scandinavian and other, and ended each show with a musical performance by artists who already were or were just about to become famous themselves.
In 2018 the show moved from NRK in Norway to the national commercial channel TV2 but ratings began to fall. On Tuesday Skavlan wrote on social media that he’d informed both SVT and TV2 that the next season of Skavlan will be the last.
“It’s (been) 25 years since I made my debut as a talk show host in Norway, and from 2009 I’ve been able to share countless memories with faithful viewers both in Norway, Sweden and Finland,” Skavlan wrote, “but everything has its time, also what became the largest talk show in the Nordic countries.”
He wrote that he’ll miss his guests and the public but most of all his employees and colleagues. His drawings have been showing up more often lately in Norwegian media but there was no immediate word on other plans. Trygve Rønningen, director at TV2, told NRK on Tuesday that the program Skavlan won’t disappear after the fall or be replaced by a new “concept.” Nor would he rule out Fredrik Skavlan himself reappearing on the TV screen: “The door isn’t closed.” Fredrik Skavland wrote that he wants “the conversation to continue, even without me.”