Simon Fuller to Produce English Version of Norwegian Teen Drama 'Shame'

Simon Fuller_Getty - P 2016
David Livingston/Getty

Simon Fuller_Getty - P 2016

The NRK series uses compelling narratives in real time with unknown actors and scripts that speak unflinchingly to a 16-year-old audience.

Simon Fuller, who changed the landscape of television when he created American Idol, will produce an English-language version of Shame, a widely-acclaimed Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation series that has become one of Scandinavia’s most talked-about programs since its debut in 2015. The groundbreaking multi-platform teen drama will be produced by Fuller’s XIX Entertainment for the U.S. and Canada.

Known as Skam in Norway, the NRK series uses compelling narratives in real time with unknown actors and scripts that speak unflinchingly to a 16-year-old audience. The show has received massive attention and ratings among young and adult audiences throughout Scandinavia. In Norway, the weekly audience has grown this year from 24,000 to 1.262 million (Norway’s total population is 5 million), outperforming most TV and streaming primetime hits in the Scandinavian country.

Shame is an important show,” says Fuller. “There is precious little content created primarily for a teen audience and Shame provides this with great honesty and integrity. This show packs a punch and is leading the way in exploring multi-platform storytelling. It has become an enormous hit in Norway and has the potential to become an influential show in America, where there is simply nothing like it. Scandinavia, and Norway in particular, is at the forefront of innovation and creativity in the shaping of the world’s digital and creative industries right now. I’m proud to be in partnership with NRK to take Shame to a worldwide audience.”

Haakon Moslet, head of Youth TV for NRK, said, “A lot of people in the TV industry have got their eyes on Skam this fall, but no one has got a vision as Simon Fuller. He wants to be true to the original idea and make Shame a series that can change the rules in the American TV market. We´re honored he wants to take ‘our baby’ to the next international level."

While the NRK team concentrates on producing season four of Skam for their own domestic consumption, Fuller will work with his American production team on the first season of Shame.

“By taking the rights for the U.S. and putting the power of Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment behind it, we feel certain that Shame’s integrity will be respected, and that the unique authenticity that is at the heart of our show will capture a very large audience,” says Ole Hedemann, head of formats for NRK. “Shame’s secret, the accurate portrayal of high school kids, gives the audience something to think about — and at the same time, something to love.”

The cast is focused on a group of 16-year-old characters, and storylines are meticulously researched to reflect real-life teen issues. Shame generates a shared reality for its viewing audience through the web where each episode is first published as it happens. Further chat, posts and social media uploads take place over the following days before the weekly TV show summarizes the storyline for the casual viewer.