Norway's Slow TV: Fascinating Viewers For Hours or Days At a Time

It’s television’s version of taking a deep breath……..a very long, very slow, deep breath. It’s called “Slow TV” and it’s a surprising smash-hit in Norway. It began with the broadcast of a train journey from the coastal city of Bergen to the capital, Oslo. The formula was simple: put a few cameras on a train and watch the scenery go by — for seven hours. About a quarter of all Norwegians tuned in to watch some part of that train trip. They ran historical clips when the train went through a tunnel, but other than some music, there was no narration, no plot, and — thanks to public broadcasting — no commercials. Since the train in 2009, they’ve experimented with other slow ideas, and folks at all levels have taken notice. For example, one of the big hits is “National Firewood Night.” All viewers see for a mind-numbing 12 hours is a video of burning logs. There’s also a “National Knitting Night” — 13 hours of sheep being sheared and sweaters being knitted. One of the longest shows was “Salmon Swimming Upstream.” For 18 hours viewers watched......yep.......salmon swimming upstream. Norwegians today consider Slow TV an escape valve that lets them take a breather from fast-paced, in-your-face television. Today, Slow TV has been syndicated around the world.