Øystein Karlsen

Øystein Karlsen is Norway’s most sought-after and edgy screenwriter and director. Karlsen is the name behind several highly successful and celebrated Norwegian TV series, including Dag (2010-2015), One Night (2017) and Exit (2019). Karlsen is also the director of several episodes of the popular and awarded Norwegian-American Netflix Original Lilyhammer (2014).

Karlsen is the creator, writer and director of the TV series Dag, which became an instant hit with the audience and received rave reviews from a choir of critics fascinated by Karlsen’s dark, absurd humor and original style. In total, Dag has received a staggering 36 Golden Screen nominations (the Norwegian equivalent of an Emmy) and 11 wins, which is a record to date.

Karlsen’s feature film debut, Fuck Up, premiered in 2012 to great reviews, and following its US festival screenings, the American film magazine Twitch films picked Fuck Up to head its 2012 top ten list with the motivation “It is pretty damn close to being a perfect film.” They also listed Karlsen among the top up and coming directors.

2019 saw the premiere of Karlsen’s latest creation, the scandalous success series Exit, which shook Norway to its core and quickly became the most streamed series in NRK’s history. The dark and twisted drama is lauded around the world, and has generated more publicity than any other Norwegian series. Based on true events, Exit is set in Norway’s high-flying financial world. It revolves around four narcissistic men in their 30s who are looking for an exit from everyday pressures and obligations by using drugs, prostitutes and challenging their own – already low – sets of moral values. Exit was nominated in numerous categories at the Golden Screen Awards, including ‘Best TV Drama’, ‘Best Innovation’, ‘Best Script’ and ‘Best Director’.

The anticipated season two of Exit premiered in March 2021 to great acclaim. It instantly made a streaming-record on NRK and was nominated for seven Norwegian Emmy’s. Karlsen is currently shooting Exit season 3.

Karlsen is writer of the amiable British crime drama Whitstable Pearl which premiered in 2021 on Acorn TV in the UK and US.


Nominated for C21 International Drama Awards (Best Returning Series) UK – Exit 2021
Golden Screen Award Nominee (Best Director ) Norway – Exit 2021
Golden Screen Award Nominee (Best Drama) Norway – Exit 2021
Golden Screen Award Nominee (Best Innovation) Norway – Exit 2020
Golden Screen Award Nominee (Best TV Drama) Norway – Exit 2020
Golden Screen Award Nominee (Best Script) Norway – Exit 2020
Golden Screen Award Nominee (Best Director) Norway – Exit 2020
Series Mania (International Panorama) France – Exit 2019
Monte-Carlo TV Festival Nominee (Best Comedy TV Series) Monaco – En natt One Night 2019
Golden Screen Nominee (Best Script) Norway – Dag 2016
Golden Screen Nominee (Best TV Drama) Norway – Dag 2016
Golden Screen (Best Script) Norway – Dag 2013
Golden Screen Nominee (Best TV Drama) Norway – Dag 2013
Seattle International Film Festival Nominee (New Director's Showcase Award) US – Fuck Up 2013
Golden Screen (Best Script) Norway – Dag 2012
Golden Screen Nominee (Best TV Drama) Norway – Dag 2012
Golden Screen Nominee (Best Direction) Norway – Dag 2012
Golden Screen Nominee (Best TV Drama) Norway – Dag 2011
Golden Screen Nominee (Best Script) Norway – Dag 2011
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‘Exit’ season 3 SVT premiere

The third season of Øystein Karlsen’s hit TV series Exit premieres on Friday April 21 on SVT.

Exit season 3 premiered on NRK in March to mind-blowing viewer ratings, and is Scandinavia’s most viewed series of all time.

Photo: Ronald Plante/Redpoint

Alex Wolff to play Leonard Cohen in Øystein Karlsen’s ‘So Long, Marianne’

NRK and Bell Media’s Crave has announced the primary cast of their hotly anticipated, original series So Long, Marianne, created by Øystein Karlsen, which tells the legendary love story of Canadian singer and poet Leonard Cohen, and his muse Marianne Ihlen. Alex Wolff (The Line, HereditaryA Quiet Place: Day One) has been cast as Leonard and Thea Sofie Loch Næss (The Last KingdomDelete MeA Storm For Christmas) will play Marianne. Joining them are Anna Torv (The Newsreader, The Last of Us, Mindhunter) as Charmian Clift and Noah Taylor (Preacher, Peaky Blinders, Game of Thrones) as George Johnston.

So Long, Marianne is written for the screen by Øystein Karlsen, who is also amongst the directors, and Jo Nesbø. Principal photography began on March 24 and is shooting in multiple locations including the Greek island of Hydra, Oslo in Norway, and Montreal, Canada.

Read the full article in Deadline by clicking ‘Read More’ below.

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Ingeborg Klyve

Outstanding opening for ‘Exit’

NRK just released the viewer ratings for the third and final season of Scandinavia’s most watched TV-series of all time, Øystein Karlsen’s mega hit Exit, which premiered on Thursday last week. A mind-blowing 1.082.000 Norwegians watched the first episode over the course of just four days, a figure that proves that Exit is the most popular TV drama in Norway.

‘Exit’ season 3 premiere

The third season of Øystein Karlsen’s hit TV series Exit premieres today on NRK in Norway. Based on true events, Exit is set in Norway’s high-flying financial world and the hugely successful dark and twisted two previous seasons instantly became the most streamed series in NRK’s history and was lauded around the world. The series is created, written and directed by Øystein Karlsen.

Zazie Beetz & Tom Hardy to star in Apple drama series ‘Lazarus’ based on Lars Kepler’s novels, with Øystein Karlsen to write and direct

Oscar nominee Tom Hardy (The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road) and Emmy nominee Zazie Beetz (Joker, Atlanta) are set to star in early-in-the-works Apple TV+ drama series Lazarus, based on Lars Kepler’s Joona Linna novels, with Øystein Karlsen to write, executive produce and direct the series. The project is a co-production between A+E Studios and Range Studios and being sold to Apple.

In the series, an emaciated young man is found wandering along a train track. Thirteen years earlier, he and his sister went missing, presumed victims of the notorious serial killer Jurek Walter. To find the sister, police detective Saga Bauer must go undercover in the maximum-security psychiatric hospital where Walter has been kept since his arrest years ago. Hardy will play Walter and Beetz will portray Inspector Saga Bauer.

Hardy Son & Baker, composed of Tom Hardy and longtime producing partner Dean Baker, will produce. Their production company is behind the FX series Taboo. Also EPs are Beetz, David Rysdahl, Kepler (Alexandra Ahndoril and Alexander Ahndoril), Niclas Salomonsson, A+E Studios (Barry Jossen, Tana Jamieson) and Range Studios (Heather Kadin, Peter Micelli and Jack Whigham).

Read the full article in Deadline Hollywood by clicking ‘Read More’ below.

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First trailer for ‘Exit’ season 3 released

The third and final season of Scandinavia’s most watched TV-series of all time, Øystein Karlsen’s mega hit Exit has just had its first trailer released.

Exit season 3 will premiere March 2 on NRK.

NRK Commissions Buccaneer Media and Redpoint Productions to produce Øystein Karlsen’s ‘So Long, Marianne’

Norwegian broadcaster NRK has commissioned So Long, Marianne, a major new drama series from UK-based Buccaneer Media and Oslo-based Redpoint Productions. The 8 x 45-minute English & Norwegian-language series is based on true story of Marianne Ihlen and her relationship with iconic singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.
The couple’s stories take place across the world, travelling from Marianne’s home in Oslo, then London, New York and Montreal, with the majority of the series set on the Greek island of Hydra, where Marianne and Leonard lived during the 1960s.

Developed by Ingeborg Klyve, Øystein Karlsen and Tony Wood and written for the screen by Redpoint’s Øystein Karlsen, the series will be co-produced together with Cineflix Media-backed Connect3.

“We’re delighted to be building on our longstanding relationship with Redpoint. Developing this series has created a world audiences will love diving into. NRK has supported us from the very beginning and it’s fantastic to be producing with them. We look forward to announcing the cast in the very near future” says Buccaneer Media joint CEOs Tony Wood and Richard Tulk-Hart.

“It feels like the way the world is right now, a series that celebrates life and love, with a core about finding your way in life, is needed more than ever,” adds series creator, Redpoint’s Øystein Karlsen.

NRK’s Furevold-Boland and Head of Content Commissioning and Sales Petter Wallace says writer Karlsen has “shown in his previous projects that he can create original dramas that are both exciting and emotional. We believe this project has the potential to become a timeless drama with universal appeal – it is about life and the pursuit of happiness.”

The series will start production in February 2023.

Click the ‘Read more’ button below to read more in Deadline Hollywood.

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Photo: Ingeborg Klyve

Third season of ‘Exit’ announced

A third season of Øystein Karlsen’s hit TV series Exit has just been green-lit. The first two seasons have been seen by a record-breaking 2 million people respectively in Norway alone and Karlsen is set to write and direct the third season as well, for which he has already finished a first draft of all eight episodes.

“Øystein Karlsen has written his best screenplay to date with season 3. But that doesn’t mean that it’s gotten any more cheerful. It will be just as dark, mad, detailed and amusing as only Øystein can write it, and as always he has placed a nice little spotlight on some of the dysfunctionalities in our society”, says Petter Testmann-Koch, executive producer of the show and CEO at Fremantle.

Shooting is scheduled to start in Spring 2022 and NRK expects a season premier by spring 2023.

‘Exit’ season 2 nominated for ‘Best Returning Series’ in C21 International Drama Awards

The second season of Exit, Øystein Karlsen’s runaway success series, has been nominated for the prestigious C21 International Drama Awards in the ‘Best Returning Series’ category, alongside gigantic series like The Crown and La Casa de Papel, productions with around 100 million dollars more in budget than Exit. The other nominees in this category are Line of Duty, Baptiste and The Good Fight.

The winners will be announced at the International Drama Awards Ceremony in London on December 2nd.

Trailer premiere for ‘Whitstable Pearl’

The trailer for Whitstable Pearl, a crime series based on the mystery novels by author Julie Wassmer, is now available for viewing. The show will star After Life’s Kerry Godliman as Pearl Nolan – a restaurant owner who, having trained as a police officer earlier in her career, decides to set up a local detective agency.

Whitstable Pearl has been adapted by Øystein Karlsen, giving the crime drama a “Scandi” edge. The series will be available on the online streaming service Acorn TV in the UK and US later this spring.

Øystein Karlsen’s ‘Exit’ season 2 nominated for seven Norwegian Emmy Awards

It has just been announced that the second season of Exit is nominated in no less than seven categories for this year’s Norwegian Emmy Awards; ‘Best Drama’, ‘Best Director (drama)’, ‘Best Actor/Actress in a leading role’ (Agnes Kittelsen), ‘Best Cinematography’, ‘Best Production Design’, ‘Best Makeup’ and ‘The Audience Award’.

With that, the series that Øystein Karlsen has written and directed have all together received a staggering 43 Norwegian Emmy nominations in 11 years and has won 12 so far.

Streaming-record on NRK when ‘Exit’ premiered

More than 1,4 million unique viewers watched the season 2 premiere of Exit in Norway on Friday night – an all-time high according to NRK.

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