After cuts and retouches, Lilyhammer sweeps Norwegian TV audiences
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
The Norwegian TV mobster drama Lilyhammer (pictured), starring Italian-American actor Stevie Van Zandt of The Sopranos fame, took Norwegian audiences by storm when a re-edited version was aired by pubcaster NRK on prime time last Wednesday (January 23) to capture 998,000 viewers (or 57%). Including web and cable, the figure will exceed one million setting an all-time opening record for Norwegian TV drama.
”The conflict around the series has undoubtedly enhanced the interest in the series,” NRK Drama Project Manager Tone C Rønning told the local press, referring to the dispute between the broadcaster and Lilyhammer producer Rubicon TV which had originally stopped the Norwegian premiere. Instead, US Netflix streaming service and cable network will be first, with a February 6 launch.
Suspected of containing paid product placement, which is illegal in Norway (sponsors had allegedley paid Rubicon TV for placement), Lilyhammer was removed from TV schedules after NRK acquisition chief Peter Wallace declared that the first version of the eight 46 minute-episode series produced by Agnete Thuland and Trond Berg-Nilssen was not suitable for transmission.
After Rubicon TV had made cuts and retouches to conceal logos and products, Norwegian audiences were finally allowed to make the acquaintance of Van Zandt as New York mobster Frank 'The Fixer' Tagliano, who asks the FBI for witness protection and is relocated to the sleepy Norwegian town of Lillehammer, but who finds that it is not easy for a respected and feared American gangster to wake up as an unemployed immigrant in Oppland.