"Bing bang" goes on in Iceland's "Lazy Town"

Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:16pm EST
 
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By Brett Young

GARDABAER, Iceland (Reuters) - On a quiet Sunday in the "Lazy Town" warehouse, the man many of the world's children know as Sportacus was working up some optimism for Iceland.

"The Icelandic people will have to take huge cuts in terms of salary, housing and lifestyle," said entrepreneur Magnus Scheving -- the brains and considerable energy behind the "Lazy Town" children's television show that has run in close to 120 countries since Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. channel aired it in 2004.

"We are going back 30 years in that sense, but we will rebound quickly," he told Reuters in an interview.

His reaction to Iceland's crisis was in character.

"Sportacus," the show's Web site says, "loves to see others succeed and is disappointed when they won't even try. He looks beyond the status quo and believes there's always a new, unique way to accomplish something. He's a hero-for-all seasons, bringing vim and vigor to a world that's sorely in need of it, an unstoppable wakeup force in a town that's fast asleep."

As the Icelandic economy melts down, "Lazy Town" -- which directly employs just 50 people normally and 160 when the show is in production -- has been bombarded with job applications, many from soon-to-be redundant bankers.

Scheving said he received over 250 work applications in three days in early October, when the country's debt-heavy banks were sucked into the global financial crisis.

These are grim times for Iceland, which after rampant growth expects it could need to borrow some $24 billion over several years to ensure its financial system and currency can function properly again.   Continued...

 
<p>Magnus Scheving (L), creator and star of the international children's television show "LazyTown", is seen in his character of 'Sportacus' along with his co-star 'Ziggy' in an undated handout screen grab. As the Icelandic economy melts down, "Lazy Town" -- which directly employs just 50 people normally and 160 when the show is in production -- has been bombarded with job applications, many from soon-to-be redundant bankers. REUTERS/LazyTown Entertainment/Handout</p>