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Who says appointment viewing on linear TV is dead? Perhaps it is for some programs, but Scandinavians tuned in in record numbers for the openers of The Bridge and Occupied.

The Bridge and Occupied
The Bridge III (Bron/ Broen): Sofia Helin as Saga Norén – Photo © Filmlance International AB / Nimbus Film
Occupied (Okkupert): (L-R) Henrik Mestad as Jesper Berg and Eldar Skar as Hans Martin – Image © Yellow Bird

THE BRIDGE III (Bron/Broen)

The highly-anticipated premiere of the international hit Swedish/Danish crime drama, The Bridge III, broke several viewership records across Scandinavia.

The Bridge III (Bron III / Broen III) cast photo
The Bridge III (Bron III / Broen III) (L-R): Maria Kulle, Reuben Sallmander, Sofia Helin, Sonja Richter, Nicolas Bro, and Thure Lindhardt
Photo © Baldur Bragason/SVT

Season 3 of the The Bridge launched simultaneously on 27 September in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, and the next day in Norway.

Sweden’s SVT1 attracted 1,400,000 viewers for the first episode — up 459,000 from Season 1 and 268,000 from Season 2 — with season-by-season overnight ratings growing steadily from 11.4 to 13.3 to 15.8.

For Denmark’s DR1, 839,000 people tuned in — up 21,000 from Season 2, but down 37,000 from Season 1. Finland’s YLE1 drew 425,000 people — up 60,000 from Season 2.

Norway’s NRK1 had 577,000 viewers — down 54,000 from Season 2, but up 14,000 from Season 1 — making it the only channel that saw a decline in viewership for the opening episode of The Bridge III.

Local media also gave the first episode of The Bridge: Season 3 quite favorable reviews, noting its “consistent Nordic noir style and greater focus on the intriguing Saga Nóren (Sofia Helin), assisted by her new Danish partner Henrik Sabroe (Thure Lindhardt).”

(More about the Season 3 storyline here, and about Bob Dylan’s involvement here.)

The Bridge: Season 3 premieres in the UK on Saturday, 21 November, on BBC Four. The US debut will likely be sometime soon(ish) on Hulu or MHz Choice, so stay tuned for details.

OCCUPIED (Okkupert)

The opening of Norwegian political thriller Occupied broke the audience record previously held by the drama Acquitted (Frikjent) on Norway’s TV2.

Occupied (Okkupert)
Occupied (Okkupert): (L-R) Henrik Mestad as Jesper Berg and Eldar Skar as Hans Martin – Image © Yellow Bird

The first episode of Acquitted attracted 660,000 viewers when it premiered last March. Fast forward to earlier this month, when Occupied‘s opener topped that number with 663,000 viewers. This translated into a hefty 53.4% share against the target demo of viewers aged 20-49, and a still-significant 44.8% share against viewers aged 12+.

Occupied, based on an original idea by bestselling Norwegian author Jo Nesbø (details here), will screen in the UK on Sky Arts (date TBA). No word yet on if it will be shown in the US, so stay tuned for updates about this series, too.

Source: Nordisk Film & TV Fond

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Record-Setting Viewership for Nordic Dramas The Bridge and Occupied
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