LazyTown (orig: Latibaer) is a children show created by former aerobics champion Magnús Scheving. The 4 seasons episodes and the LazyTown Extra clips are shot in Iceland, in a specially developed studio in Gardabaer, with an international cast from Iceland, the UK and the USA. The primary language is US English and the episodes are dubbed in a variety of different languages. Not every country uses the name LazyTown but translated the name into their own language, like Villa Pereza in the Spanish language.
LazyTown is a leading and highly respected children’s entertainment brand comprising an award-winning TV series, live stage shows, sports events, publishing, and more. The LazyTown concept is entertainment for children and the whole family, dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle in a fun and engaging way, including regular exercise, eating Sports Candy (fruits and vegetable), brushing your teeth, teamwork, and sharing. The TV show has become an international success since it was first launched in 2004 and has been broadcast in over 170 countries, reaching over 500 million homes and dubbed in over 30 languages (data of 2013).
There are nine main characters in the show: Sportacus, Stephanie, Robbie Rotten, Stingy, Ziggy, Pixel, Trixie, Mayor Meanswell, and Bessie Busybody - of whom only three (Sportacus, Stephanie, and Robbie) are human. Cleverly mixing live characters, puppets and CGI, the use of bright colors and upbeat music, LazyTown creates engaging storylines that have a healthy message, delivering entertainment that inspires and raising the bar for children’s television. Each episode features two or more songs, two of them are always the intro song "Welcome To LazyTown" and the final song "Bing Bang".
In the early/mid-nineties, Magnús Scheving earned several awards for Aerobic Gymnastics, including being named Iceland's Athlete of the Year in 1994. On the back of this success, Scheving started to use his notoriety within his home country to appeal to the youth of Iceland to make healthier choices and exercise more. This started with him travelling around schools making presentations and quickly led on to a book on the subject and, ultimately, the 1996 stage play Áfram Latibær. This stage production proved popular and successful and paved the way for further development of the Latibær brand, including the follow-up play Glanni Glæpur í Latabæ in 1999.
The success of the Latibær brand encouraged Scheving to attempt to sell the concept worldwide, and in the early years of the 21st century he set up LazyTown Entertainment and approached the American television studio Nickelodeon to commission a TV show for their Nick Jr. channel. The broadcast rights were then sold on to many other channels worldwide until LazyTown could ultimately be seen in over a in over 170 countries, reaching over 500 million homes and dubbed in over 30 languages (data of 2013).
In 2011 Mágnus Scheving sold the company to Turner Broadcasting for the amount of £15 million (British pounds) but stayed in charge of the production of the season 3 and 4 episodes. Ultimately Magnus will retire by the end of 2014 (November) and the company will be moved completely from Iceland to the UK.
LazyTown is aimed at young children, however it has gained popularity with many older viewers. Some aspects, like the songs "Cooking by the Book" and "You are a Pirate", are known even to people who have not seen the show due to references made in other parts of the internet (ie. the chorus from "You are a Pirate" being used in a Flash short about the popular internet piracy application LimeWire).
The LazyTown episodes were aired on Nick Jr. first (started on August 16, 2004), broadcasted in more than 90 million homes across the US on Nickelodeon. LazyTown was also shown on CBS on weekends, followed by Canada’s YTV, the country’s number one youth network. LazyTown premiered on Discovery Kids in Latin America, on March 2005 and was first seen in Europe by the end of 2005, i.e. on SuperRTL in Germany and CBeebies in the UK. Other countries followed soon after that to more than 170 countries in the first quarter of 2012.
- Many members of the original cast (including Magnús Scheving, Stefán Karl Stefánsson and Guðmundur Þór Kárason) provide the voice-over for the Icelandic dub.