Norwegian drama series is a hit in the whole Nordic region

NRKs portrayal of four immoral, politically incorrect, wealthy young men has taken its place as the top streaming success for Nordic public service drama. Exit has captured viewers in all the countries, across all age groups.
In general, more Nordic drama is being produced in collaboration than ever before.

Nordic drama finds itself in the midst of a new golden age, with NRK’s Exit as the crown jewel in cross-Nordic cooperation.

Annual report 2021

This press release is part of the overview of the past year of Nordic collaboration.

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After four years of the drama collaboration known as N12, viewers in the five Nordvision countries – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland – have had 48 Nordic drama series in total.

Exit stands out across national borders and age groups and is that real segment-smasher everyone dreams of, in a year of more collaboratively produced drama series than ever before in the history of the Nordvision partnership. And that’s not only with content for adults, but it’s to the same degree for children’s and youth drama content,” says Nordvision’s Secretary General Henrik Hartmann.

The series Exit has gripped Nordic streaming viewers, also drawing a high number of viewers from the youth age group. More than four out of 10 Norwegian 19-29-year olds have watched the series. That age group is one that public service media has long found it a challenge to reach. And the viewers have stayed with it. 97.6 percent of those Norwegians who watched the first episode ended up watching all of the season’s eight episodes.

Based on true experiences

Exit depicts a group of wealthy members of Norway’s financial elite, living an unscrupulous life in the fast lane full of parties, drink, drugs and prostitutes. The series is based on interviews with real-life wealthy high-flyers, who on condition of anonymity relayed stories of their extreme lifestyles to scriptwriter Øystein Karlsen.

Many of its sensational elements were based on real life events, and that is an important part of the series’ success, reckons NRK’s head of drama, Ivar Køhn.

“It’s a tempting and extreme lifestyle, and one that we have no idea exists. But the series does ring true, even though it’s fiction. The four main characters are thus fictional and can’t be linked to specific people among the interviewed financiers. It’s entertaining to get to watch rich people and see what money can do,” says Ivar Køhn, who also accredits a well-written script as a significant reason for its success.

It is not only in its homeland of Norway that viewers are flocking to Exit’s first two series.

Viewer success is the key

It is regarded as a particular success in the other Nordic countries too.

“It really has to be said. Viewer success is the key,” says Amna Maksumic, project manager at SVT.

At Swedish Yle, station manager Gitte Laurell agrees:

“Yes, it’s viewer success for us too”.

According to Gitte Laurell, Exit also has engaged audiences to an unusual extent.

“The exciting thing about Exit is that viewers like it, watch it and discuss it with people of all different age groups. Also it is definitely a drama for streaming, one which people want to watch in one go.”

She also reports that thousands of Finns celebrated on social media when it became clear a third season was in the making. Although not until 2024.

At Iceland’s RUV, similar noises are being made. 

“Yes, without a doubt. Exit was the number one streamed series of 2021,” adds Valgeir Vilhjálmsson, head of marketing and research.  

“I have to say, those were the best viewing numbers in N12 drama streaming we’ve ever had.”

The series is one part of the Nordic drama partnership N12, which guarantees 12 new drama series for the adult market every year.

Children’s drama follows suit

2021 was the first year of a formalised drama collaboration in children’s drama, called B14. As the name suggests, the aim was to produce 14 children’s drama productions each year. But that ambitious target was surpassed in that no fewer than 24 drama series were produced by The Nordvision partnership for children’s viewing last year.

On the whole, in spite of the pandemic, the Nordic TV partnership had a real record year.

Never before have the partners produced so much content through joint efforts as in 2021, when counting the number of co-productions.

Secretary General Henrik Hartmann sees this year as perhaps the most strategically important in the partnership’s 62-year history, because the partners have invested in each other’s content to an unprecedented degree, resulting in more co-productions than ever before, especially in TV drama for adults, young people and children.

About Nordvision

The Nordvision partnership works together to strengthen public service media in the Nordic region. The partners co-produce, exchange programmes, co-develop formats and share knowledge, generating more than 4,500 programmes yearly.

Founded in 1959

Secretary General, Henrik Hartmann (


The partners are DR (Denmark), NRK (Norway), SVT (Sweden), Yle (Finland), RUV (Iceland) and 5 associated partners: KNR (Greenland), KVF (Faroe Islands), UR (Sweden) Swedish Radio (SR, Sweden) and Åland Radio (Åland)