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Sportacus: – Spotlight on the man behind the TV show of LazyTown

22/04/2012 | By | 5 Replies More

Sportacus and the man behind TV show of LazyTown

In Iceland, kids go to bed at 8.08pm, and eat up all their fruit and veg – because that’s what Sportacus does.

With his children’s TV show, LazyTown, rapidly evolving into a global smash hit, Magnús Scheving, the man behind the moustache.

Sportacus is always hovering over LazyTown inspiring kids to switch off their video games console and to stop eating junk food. LazyTown is the fictional home of Sportacus, Stephanie, Trixie, Pixel, Ziggy, Stingy and Robbie Rotten.

Now, if you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about here, may I be the first to say: “Mu-um! Da-aaad! Old person!  Duh! Like … where have you been?” And second, I will explain that this is LazyTown, the fastest-moving, fastest-selling kids’ TV show of the moment, now broadcast in 128 countries and currently showing on BBC, CBBC, CBeebies in UK and on Noggin in USA. But first, learn a little about the man behind this healthy lifestyle for kids’ worldwide.

Sportacus: Magnus Scheving, Founder of Lazy Town

His name is Magnús Scheving and he is born in Reykjavík, Iceland. Scheving is a jack of all trades, and he is also a master of many. Before creating the TV show “LazyTown”, Scheving was known as a world-class athlete:

Among his many sports awards and trophies he was the two-times European Champion of aerobics in 1995 and 1994 as well as silver medalist in the World Championships of aerobics in 1994 and following that was voted “Athlete of the Year” in Iceland.

Furthermore, he was also the Nordic Champion and holds six Icelandic Champion titles. He successfully built up one of the most popular health & fitness clubs in Iceland and was the manager and owner of the club for five years.

Scheving became a public speaker on the subject of fitness, and throughout his travels he noted that there was no super hero to motivate kids to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. Scheving then began to research the topic, talking to parents and kids, and observing kids to see what kinds of things they were interested in.

In 1995, Scheving wrote a book titled Go, Go LazyTown! that encourages kids to be active and healthy by putting forth positive, active role models in an entertaining and non-violent story. The book became a best seller in Iceland, and he went on to write four more books and two musical theater plays based on the series. In addition, the company has produced three musical CDs and a board game and went on to produce the popular children’s television show.

LazyTown” and Sportacus is now a household name in Scheving’ native country, Iceland, and has quickly taken hold in American households as well. The TV show, which first aired in August of 2004, is the fourth-ranked preschool show on US commercial TV. “LazyTown” emphasizes healthy eating, physical fitness, and positive social values like sharing and being kind to others.

In addition to his roles as athlete, writer, entrepreneur, producer and director among others, Scheving also plays the staring role in “LazyTown” as Sportacus. Scheving now tours all over the world talking to children about being fit and healthy. In fact, much of LazyTown’s success surely comes from Scheving’ genuine concern for kids, and his devotion to understanding their tastes, habits and motivations.

Sportacus: Sportacus doing exercises with a boyWhat is so refreshing about LazyTown and Sportacus is the way it is aimed squarely at young kids and doesn’t make any attempt at arch, recherché pop-culture references for the parents. It’s a purist approach that has won over the lazy kids of little Iceland (population just 320,000), got them to eat “sport candy” instead of teeth-rotting candy, inspired them to “get their move on”, to play soccer and tennis instead of sitting around in front of the X-Box. “I know it’s ironic that they have to sit and watch TV to learn this stuff,” says Scheving. “But television can be inspirational for healthy living.

LazyTown is made in a purpose-built studio just outside Reykjavik that Scheving boasts is among the most technologically advanced in the world. Facilities include a huge green screen, a $1m, 27.6m-pixels Viper FilmStream Camera and a specially commissioned 70 terabyte processing unit that is kept under carefully climatically controlled conditions in case of spontaneous combustion.

Uniquely, the LazyTown studio has the ability to project ultra-high-definition backgrounds on to its green screen stage and shoot them directly, the various latex and humanoid players interacting with visible images rather than imagined ones. “We are above industry standard in HD”, says Scheving.

LazyTown is on a mission to move the world to be a healthier place. When we get kids moving, we get their families moving. And when families move, we are one step closer to moving the world. Move the body, move the mind, every day”, says Scheving.

Edda award to Magnús Scheving 2006


An interview in Los Angeles (USA 2010)


Scheving can be proud of his 20 years of success with LazyTown concept and Sportacus, but the company was formed in 1992. Today, the high-definition television series consists of 53 LazyTown episodes, and 26 LazyTown Extra episodes produced with the BBC. In September 2011, a new shareholder, Turner CN Enterprises, came into the LazyTown concept with an immediate commitment to produce a new series of the Icelandic kids TV series known and aired in more than 100 countries in more than a dozen languages.

Magnús Scheving, CEO of LazyTown said;  “We’re delighted to have Turner on board and believe that the fit is an ideal one for us, Turner being one of the world’s leading broadcast companies. Their ethos of entertaining children in a fun and educational way is perfectly in keeping with the LazyTown brand. We look forward to a bringing the LazyTown message of helping motivate children to lead a healthy lifestyle to a whole new audience of Turner viewers.”

Alan Fenwick, VP Turner CN Enterprises, EMEA said: “LazyTown is one of those rare and wonderfully inspiring brands that at its core has such a relevant health message that everyone from governments to global retailers and most importantly millions of children every day from around the world are fully embracing. We are delighted to be working with Scheving and his team as we build on this success together, ensuring that LazyTown becomes the world’s leading healthy lifestyle brand for children.”

But give Magnús Scheving the last word in this article. A father of three children of his own, Scheving has the rare ability to humbly and intently listen to those who are often the wisest among us – “our children”.


Category: Iceland

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