Is Norway’s Slow TV Phenomenon The Future Of Reality Programming? 9-Hour Knitting Contests, 8-Hour Train Rides

Knit one, purl … eight-plus hours of live stitching? That’s what’s happening tonight on Norwegian public broadcaster NRK2 as folks around the country gather in viewing parties. The show is part of a phenomenon known as Slow TV which has increasingly captivated Norway. The overall gist of the concept, to which LMNO Productions recently acquired U.S. rights, 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. Prior to tonight, those have included a 7.5-hour train journey, a 134-hour coastal cruise, a stack of firewood and salmon. Tonight, NRK2 will turn its lens on National Knitting Evening. Four hours of discussion on the popular pastime will kick off at 8 PM local, before a sheep gets trotted out at midnight to be sheared and its wool spun into yarn. Making Knitting Evening sound like a breathless frenzy of activity compared to some earlier Slow TV ventures, seven spinners and knitters will then hunker down to stitch a large men’s sweater in an attempt to break a Guinness world record — for speed, no less. NRK programming executive Rune Moklebust tells me the four-hour and 51-minute record will be “hard to break, but we’ll broadcast until the (sweater) is finished.” Moklebust is confident folks will stick with it through the wee hours, “like they’re waiting for election results.” (more…)

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