Documentary series producer Tone Innset has been wildly successful as the creative force behind some of Norway’s best reality television shows. For the past five years she has continued to produce the kind of work that glues audiences to their TVs with the captivating and often intimate personal accounts of those whom she presents with the honed expertise of a storyteller.
As Norway’s top showrunner in the docuseries genre, Innset has produced more than 160 episodes of an array of titles, including 118 episodes spanning 12 seasons of Unge Mødre, the Norwegian version of MTV’s Teen Mom. Much like its American counterpart, the show gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of young women and teens who are either pregnant or have given birth as they deal with the day-to-day blessings and adversities of their newfound family lives.
Filming a show like Unge Mødre comes with its own difficulties, which is one area where Innset’s knowledge and expertise prove how valuable an asset she is to the entire production.
“These are young adults and teenagers with a lot of responsibility on their hands and a lot on their plate,” Innset said. “You also have to remember that in these kinds of series you follow someone’s life, and the most interesting things in a person’s life doesn’t necessarily happen between nine and five.”
Innset was also the producer of 12 episodes of Charterfeber aka Charter Fever, a series that follows a group of real-life Norwegian vacationers as they travel to exotic locales in southern Europe. The show documents their lives as they prepare for the trip, their time on holiday and their return home at the end of the journey.
“I loved that because it was really funny,” Innset said. “You know Scandinavians love to escape the cold weather and go to southern Europe to have fun… We filmed for two months on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. It’s a humorous and edgy series, and a lot of people relate to the characters and have a laugh.”
Her intense hands-on work on Charterfeber made the show’s 2013 premiere the highest-rated premiere on the TV3 Norway channel in four years. Charterfeber’s widespread popularity garnered the series a nomination for the prestigious Gullruten Norwegian Television Award. The show is also known for having helped launch the career of one of Norway’s hottest celebrities, Svein Tore Ostvik.
Innset’s latest project is the second season of the food series Norges Grillmester aka Norway Grill Master, a star-studded cooking show, which sees contestants facing off through challenges to be named the titular Grill Master. The popular docuseries is hosted by Norway’s golden boy, actor Stig Henrik Hoff (The Thing, Into The White, Lilyhammer), and world-renowned chef Jonas Lundgren.
As a producer with a reputation for being someone who is always on-call and prepared to handle any curve ball in order to keep a production running smoothly, Innset was quick to respond when logistical complications threatened the filming process of Norges Grillmester. After an unforeseeable obstacle arose where a massive tent that had been specially designed as the set for one of the episodes was erected without all of the necessary pieces, it was Innset who came to the rescue.
“Well, on Thursday, we saw that a quarter of the floor in the tent was missing; it never got delivered, and that kind of flooring was very hard to come by,” explained Innset. “Somehow we miraculously managed to find a place where we could get a material similar to the floor we already had, so we painted it to look the same and it all worked out.”
This is only one out of hundreds of examples of the way Innset’s quick thinking and experience has helped to keep one of her productions on track. This particular season of Norges Grillmester premiered April 13 in Norway, and has been an exciting ride with unpredictable twists and turns from contestants Per Thorvald Thorgesen and Terje Inngjerdingen dropping out for health reasons to Sylvia and Luis Vavik winning the title earlier this month.
Innset is also working on the next season of Unge Mødre, which is set to premiere this fall. Her passion for the documentary series genre, which has made her a prolific name in the field and shines in the quality of her productions, stems from a human-interest perspective.
“I strongly believe that when people feel that they are seen and heard they feel a kind of ownership over the project, and when you feel ownership you put a lot more energy into it,” she said. “I have a great passion and love for telling stories, and I am a curious people person.”