What's the Latest Development?
Inspired by a bestselling book about firewood -- which in Norway came in second only to Fifty Shades of Grey in sales during the past holiday season-- the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) now offers to its viewers a television show that consists of a burning fireplace supplemented with "firewood specialists providing color commentary, expert advice and a bit of cultural tutoring" including music and readings of poems. The show will run for 12 hours straight; producer Rune Moeklebust calls it "very slow but noble television" and believes that it will get better-than-average ratings: "People in Norway have a spiritual relationship with fire."
What's the Big Idea?
Airing burning fireplaces is nothing new -- witness the "Yule Log" appearing on American TVs every Christmas, plus numerous YouTube videos and DVDs -- but the genre of slow television is one for which Norwegians apparently have a decent appetite. NRK holds the world record for the longest live-coverage TV program: 134 hours of a cruise ship traveling up the Norwegian coast that drew up to 3.2 million viewers, 60 percent of the country's population. It also aired an eight-hour train journey that was so popular it was repeated.
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