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Norway's 'boring TV' trend attracts legions of fans

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If you've ever watched an animal live cam, or felt hypnotized by a seasonal fireplace channel, you might describe your viewing style and attention span as rather Norwegian.

The Scandinavian nation has produced successful television programs centered on everything from a 7-hour train ride between Oslo and Bergen to an 18-hour live stream centered on salmon swimming up a river.

"If it feels a little too strange, then you're definitely on the right path," Rune Moklebust, a programming executive at Norway's national broadcasting service, NRK, told the Wall Street Journal in a recent story about the phenomenon.

It is estimated that half the Norwegian population tuned into a 134-hour live broadcast of a ferry navigating the country's coastline in 2011. (Below is a timelapsed version.)

And in May of this year, a local media outlet set a Guinness record for longest nonstop interview. Crime author Hans Olav Lahlum spoke to a journalist for a staggering 30 hours - and hundreds of thousands tuned in for a stretch.

Now executives at NRK are pondering the pitches for some new shows, including simple ideas, like live broadcast knitting, and more abstract proposals, like watching construction workers arrange and rearrange planks into number formations that match the current time.

It's been described as the "boring" television genre, but some Norwegians scholars say it addresses a unique need in a crowded media landscape.

Norwegian University of Science sociologist Arve Hjelseth told the WSJ that many see the phenomena as a "sort of celebration of the Norwegian way of doing things, which we believe to be slightly different."

And University of Oslo Professor Espen Ytreberg added that boring TV is a "novelty" that offers reprieve from the "the crazy media world."

What would Canadian slow television look like?

Picking up on the thread, CBC's Metro Morning asked listeners to suggest boring streams that might do well in Canada.

Some suggestions included:

SOCIAL POLL | What kind of "boring television" would you watch?

*Please note that this is a non-scientific and pre-moderated social poll. It may include reader-submitted questions that have been approved by CBC staff.

We invite you to participate, but please stick to the same template and our submissions guidelines.

Could you watch "boring television" for hours on end? If so, which of the following would capture your attention, do you think?

Could you watch 'boring' television...

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