Van Zandt’s mobster killed off after Netflix pulls out of Lilyhammer
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Sold to 130 countries, the most successful television series for Norwegian public broadcaster NRK will stop after three seasons
”Lilyhammer RIP. Not my decision. Let's just say for now that the business got too complicated. Very proud of our 24 shows. New ideas on the way,” wrote US actor Steven Van Zandt earlier this week (22 July) on Twitter, confirming that the most successful Norwegian television series will stop after three seasons.
Launched in 2012 by Norwegian public broadcaster NRK and signed less than a year later as Netflix’s first original TV series, Lilyhammer follows former New York mobster Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano (Van Zandt), who has been relocated by the FBI to Lilyhammer in Norway’s Oppland as part of a witness protection programme.
Tagliano has testified against former associates, and the once-feared gangster is now an unemployed immigrant who is sometimes forced to resort to old and unscrupulous methods. Written by Eilif Skodvin and Anne Bjørnstad, the cast included Trond Fausa Aurvåg, Steinar Sagen, Marian Saastad Ottesen and Fridtjov Såheim.
According to Norwegian media outlet VG, the comedy-drama’s cancellation has resulted from a disagreement between NRK and Netflix. The Norwegian public broadcaster released the entire third season online last autumn, while Netflix had to wait six months before making streaming available, despite contributing €10.8 million to the €13.5 million production budget.
Produced by Norway’s Rubicon TV, Lilyhammer reached up to 1.1 million Norwegian viewers per episode. The original series has been licensed to 130 countries, including the US, Canada, Latin America and all of Scandinavia. It was most recently acquired by the BBC, while Germany and France are currently in negotiations.
Van Zandt won Golden Nymphs as Outstanding Actor in a TV Comedy at the Monte Carlo International TV Festival, where Lilyhammer also snagged prizes for Best European TV Comedy Series.