In the third quarter of 2005, the Icelandic television show LazyTown, which promotes the importance of proper nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, was the fourth most popular preschool program in the United States according to Nielsen Media Research. Each week the program has over 4.4 million viewers reports Morgunbladid.
The program made its debut in the US one year ago and is now showing in 42 countries around the world, mainly in South America.
Ágúst Freyr Ingason, Lazytown’s assistant CEO, told Morgunbladid that they are pleasantly surprised how fast the program’s popularity has been growing. He said that they knew that the program’s material was both easy for people to grasp and become infatuated with.
Ágúst said that LazyTown had had great success in selling the show. Germany was the last market LazyTown debuted in but recently they have signed deals in France and Italy and aim to show the program in Spain and Norway.
On its one year anniversary in the US, LazyTown brought to market various promotional products including DVD’s, puppets, Fisher Price toys, books and musical CD’s.
A recent article in the New York Times details the success of the show in the US.
According to the the NYT article the founder and “star” of the show, Magnús Scheving, otherwise known as Sportacus, “the superhero of exercise”, has an “unusual mission” for the show, “he wants to encourage children to be physically active and to eat healthy foods – by watching television.”
The article describes how Magnús first pitched the show to executives at television station Nickelodeon,
‘”‘One of the first things he did was a split in midair in my office,’ said Brown Johnson, the executive creative director of Nickelodeon’s preschool programming division. ‘Then he dropped down and did 400 different kinds of pushups – one-armed, clapping in front, clapping behind his back, in the air, flipping over. I was just dumbfounded not only by this guy’s charisma but his ability to do this in front of grown adults and look really cool.'”
Magnús is currently busy promoting the show’s mission to children around the United States.
Magnús told the New York Times that everywhere he goes children react with enthusiasm to the routines. “The same things we did in Iceland work extremely well in Orlando, Chicago, New York,” he said. “Kids like to move. They really, really like to move.”