Hit Norway TV show too risqué for foreign audiences

The online series 'Skam' is a massive success in Norway, but foreign buyers are scared off.

Hit Norway TV show too risqué for foreign audiences
Broadcaster NRK had hoped that 'Skam' would become an international hit. Photo: NRK
‘Skam’ (Shame) is Norway’s biggest online hit ever, drawing nearly 200,000 viewers to each episode. The series, which follows the lives of teenaged girls in Oslo, can also count Princesses Mette-Marit and PM Erna Solberg among its fans. 
The series takes on topics that resonate with teens, including bullying and sex and was even praised by the National Criminal Investigation Service (Kripos) for an episode that tackled date rape.
'Skam' has also raked in a number of prestigious awards but it seems unlikely that it will ever become a global hit. NRK said this week that its hopes of selling the series abroad seem unlikely, in large part because of the excessive drinking shown in the show. 
“The responses we are getting are that the alcohol use is very dominant. They [the teens in the show] aren’t just a little drunk, they are really drunk,” Claudia Schmitt told NRK.
Schmitt’s German company Betafilm has been tasked with selling NRK programmes to foreign buyers and said that the programme’s “innovative and progressive” structure is also proving a challenge.
'Skam’ clips are published online every day and then put together into a full episode that airs every Friday both online and on the youth-oriented channel NRK3.
“The other countries need time to understand this broadcasting method,” Schmitt said. 
NRK’s Ole Hedemann, who heads up the broadcaster’s development unit, said foreign buyers simply aren’t willing to take risks. 
“There are many who cling tightly to the way it used to be,” he told NRK. 
Hedemann said he is still hopeful that media companies in the other open-minded Nordic countries will purchase the show. 
“It will probably be make it to the Nordic countries, I believe. That's where we have the greatest prevalence of smartphones and tablets. Give it three years,” he said.
The original trailer for 'Skam' can be seen below, while the English-subtitled trailer that NRK is using to shop the show globally can be seen here. Full episodes can be found on the series website

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Here are the first glimpses of the American ‘Skam’

‘Skam’, the hugely successful Norwegian television series following the lives of Oslo teenagers, has been given an American remake.

Here are the first glimpses of the American 'Skam'
Will the US Skam enjoy similar levels of success to its Norwegian predecessor? Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

The first clips from ‘Skam Austin’, which will be broadcast on Facebook’s US streaming service, were released via social media this week.

As with the original Norwegian series, ‘Skam Austin’ gives viewers insight and sneak previews of the lives of its characters via videos and other content posted on social media accounts.

Broadcaster NRK last year sold the rights to the series, which ended last year after a highly-popular four-series run, to several European countries as well as the United States.

And the first glimpses of what is to come have now been made available online by production company XIX Entertainment, which made the series for Facebook Watch.

Fans of the show initially began speculating after Facebook page ‘SKAM Austin’ began publishing video clips last week.

The first video, a teaser, confirmed that the first episode will be released on April 24th.

Further videos have since appeared online, as have Instagram accounts connected to characters from the new series.

Julie Andem, screenwriter on the original version of Skam, also directed the new US series.

“This proves that NRK has made something world class, and is being noticed all over the world,” the Norwegian broadcaster's director Thor Gjermund Eriksen said to NRK when the US series was announced last year.


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