The Slow TV phenomenon that has gripped Norway is on its way to the States. Travel Channel, working in association with LMNO Cable Group, has acquired the format and will debut its Slow TV event, Slow Road Live, on November 27 — ie Black Friday. Beginning at 9AM ET, the channel will air a live 12-hour road trip whose route will be revealed at a future date. Travel Channel promises “a serene and captivating journey on the frenetic day Americans have come to know as Black Friday.”
“While everyone else is out hustling and bustling to get the latest deals on Black Friday, we’re giving our viewers a chance to unwind with 12 hours of reality in real time” says Ross Babbit, Travel Channel SVP of programming and development. “This live programming event will get everyone together to simply enjoy the stunning, beautiful scenery and realize the only big character in this show is the world around us.” The counterprogramming exercise will include an interactive element with a robust second-screen and social media production.
Slow TV originated with Norwegian public broadcaster NRK2 in 2009 and is a hybrid of unhurried documentary coupled with hours and hours of continuous coverage provided by fixed cameras trained on a subject or an event. It began with Bergensbanen, a 7.5-hour continuous program that showed every minute of a train journey from Bergen to Oslo. The program aired on a Friday and drew more than 1.2M viewers out of a population of 5M. Ratings showed viewers weren’t only tuning in for two minutes, but were actually engrossed. The next Slow TV program came in 2011 with Hurtigruten: Minutt For Minutt, a 134-hour long show that followed a cruise ship down the coast and was seen by 70% of the population. In 2013, NRK2’s National Knitting Evening inspired viewing parties and included 240 minutes of discussion on the popular pastime followed by 8.5 hours of long, quiet sequences of knitting and spinning. At the time, LMNO acquired U.S. rights.
Slow Road Live is produced by LMNO Cable Group for Travel Channel. For LMNO Cable Group, the executive producer is Eric Schotz. For Travel Channel, the executive producer is Patrick McManamee.
The Slow TV concept also recently inspired BBC Four to plan a selection of deliberately unrushed programs celebrating craftsmanship, travel and art.