Slow Burn: Norway Airs 12-Hour Primetime TV Broadcast of Burning Fireplace

"It's popping now, it's really kind of crackling -- that's what happens when the greener wood starts to burn." Imagine color commentary like that by chummy firewood specialists poised before a hearth, chatting up viewers for 12 hours straight.

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Michael Dalder / Reuters

“It’s popping now, it’s really kind of crackling — that’s what happens when the greener wood starts to burn.” Imagine color commentary like that by chummy firewood specialists poised before a glowing hearth, chatting up viewers for 12 hours straight. “Riveting” hardly describes it.

But that’s just what Norwegian public television intends to broadcast this Friday evening during primetime and on through the wee hours of Saturday morning.

(MORE: A Brief History of The Yule Log)

“We’ll talk about the very nerdy subjects like burning, slicing and stacking the wood, but we’ll also have cultural segments with music and poems,” NRK (Norwegian Broadcast Company) producer Rune Moeklebust told Reuters. “It will be very slow but noble television.”

Sound like a ratings bust? You’d think so, but then again you probably haven’t heard of Norwegian author Lars Mytting, whose book Hel Ved — an exploration of Norway’s special relationship with (you guessed it) wood went on to sell 130,000 copies — turned him into something of a national firewood celeb. (Norway has just under five million residents, so his sales total is quite impressive indeed.) It was Mytting’s book that inspired Moeklebust to come up with the idea for a marathon NRK fireplace broadcast, and Mytting is slated to be a guest on the Friday night show.

It’s also not NRK’s first dance with the outlandish: The station followed a cruise ship from Norway to the Arctic for 134 hours straight in 2011, at one point netting up to 3.2 million viewers, and more recently, its broadcast of an eight-hour train ride proved popular enough to justify repeats.

So after 12 hours of relentlessly smoldering lumber, how do you sign off in grand fashion? Perhaps something tame like: “Whoops, time to put a new log on, we’re down to just embers now…” And fade to black.

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10 comments
Ilke10
Ilke10

Well, it wasn't 12 hours of burning. First 4 hours of guests and very nerdy talk + wood related competitions and live music on the set. And then 8 hours of watching the fire.

cheshirekat1
cheshirekat1

This is nothing new.  In NYC in the 1960's a TV station (I think WPIX) was the first to broadcast a burning Yule Log fireplace accompanied with Christmas music and it continues every Christmas to this day. 

rpearlston
rpearlston

Except for the voice-over, this isn't a new idea.  We (southern Ontario) get a "fireplace channel" 24/7 for a large part of December/early January.  To replicate that experience, just mute the set.

karen.carver
karen.carver

Considering most of the television here, I'd go for 12 hours of a burning log on the screen...but no commentary. I would either want some good music or no sound at all...

southbeachsensualist
southbeachsensualist

and then when I was ready to go to bed, I'd urinate on it so it wouldn't burn the house down.