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Chuck Haga, Published December 22 2008

Reality TV show looking for a few good Norwegians

If you have some Norwegian ancestry but have never been to Norway, here’s your chance:

“The Great Norway Adventure,” a Scandinavian-accented reality TV series planned for next year, promises to blend elements of “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” – and probably all the pickled herring and goat cheese you’d ever want.

Producers of Norway’s version of “American Idol” and other shows say they’re looking for “fun, outgoing Americans with Norwegian ancestry” – honestly, those are their words – to go to Norway and “compete in extreme cultural challenges” for a prize of $50,000.

In addition to having some Norwegian roots – “even a little bit counts” – participants must be between 18 and 60 years old and can’t have traveled to Norway before. They probably want to capture first reactions to mountains, gammelost (literally, old cheese) or the bill for dinner with drinks.

“It’s sort of like ‘The Amazing Race’ with a ‘fish out of water’ hook,” said Ingvild Daae, of the sponsoring Norwegian production company, Monster Entertainment.

“It won’t be mean-spirited,” Joan O’Connor, of the Chicago company promoting the series, said in a telephone interview. “Most Americans don’t know that much about Norway, so you’ll be in a strange environment doing foreign things.”

She said she “couldn’t guess” what sorts of “extreme cultural challenges” might be involved, though she didn’t specifically rule out midnight ski-jumping or trying to bring extra bottles of duty-free wine through Danish or Swedish customs.

“The food is different,” O’Connor offered, though she acknowledged not attending any Sons of Norway smorgasbords.

“I’m Irish,” she said.

The company is casting for the show nationwide, but with a special push – surprise – in North Dakota, Minnesota and other states with large numbers of Norwegian-Americans.

The deadline to submit an application to audition for the series is Jan. 25. Applications may be downloaded at www.oconnorcasting.tv/Norway.

Lykke til. (Good luck.)

The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.