Following recent reports that “Lilyhammer” would be leaving the service following the expiration of a 10-year licensing agreement, Netflix has closed a last minute deal to continue streaming the show. The news was revealed to IndieWire by Netflix, and means that all 24 episodes of Netflix’s first original series will continue to be available to subscribers.
“Lilyhammer” starred longtime E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt (who also produced, wrote, directed, and served as music supervisor) as a mobster who relocates to rural Norway after entering the witness protection program. The series was produced in Norway (Van Zandt was the only American cast member) and aired on the local TV channel NRK1. Netflix entered an agreement to stream “Lilyhammer” for 10 years, but the license was set to expire this month. Had a deal not been reached, “Lilyhammer” would have left the service in December.
“I am very proud of ‘Lilyhammer’ being not just the first original show on Netflix, but the first truly international show, with subtitles and a completely Norwegian cast and crew except for me, helping establish Netflix as the first truly international entertainment company,” Van Zandt said in a statement announcing the news.
In a recent blog post commemorating the show’s tenth anniversary, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos reflected on what the show has meant to the streaming service and its international programming strategy as a whole.
“Looking back, ‘Lilyhammer’ was perhaps an unorthodox choice for our first show. But it worked because it was a deeply local story that we could share with the world. The jokes and references worked locally and the more universal themes of the shows traveled perfectly,” Sarandos wrote. “Thank you ‘Lilyhammer’ and Stevie Van Zandt for starting this incredible ten-year journey. It’s always hard to predict what’s to come in the next ten but one thing is certain: we’ll have many more great stories from anywhere that can be loved everywhere.”
“Lilyhammer” was created by Eilif Skodvin and Anne Bjørnstad. In addition to Van Zandt, it starred Trond Fausa, Steinar Sagen, Marian Saastad Ottesen, Tommy Karlsen, Fridtjov Såheim, Robert Skjærstad, and Nils Jørgen Kaalstad.