One TV Network Wants to Put Viewers to Sleep on Thanksgiving

Destination American Will Air Five-Hour Train Ride Through Alaska

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The 'slow TV' format originated in Norway, where more than 70% of the population watched a cruise ship sail around for five days.
The 'slow TV' format originated in Norway, where more than 70% of the population watched a cruise ship sail around for five days. Credit: Destination America
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Destination America is hoping to put viewers to sleep with its Thanksgiving Day special.

The Discovery Communications-owned channel will show a five-hour, real-time journey of a train traveling along Alaska's 500-mile long railroad. "Railroad Alaska: Real Time Train Ride" will air on Nov. 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by an encore.

"When turkey isn't enough to put you to sleep on Thanksgiving, Destination America has the snoozefest you need," the network said in a statement, calling the special "a classic cure for insomnia."

The special will have commercial breaks.

"Most networks compete to produce the most exciting show, which we already accomplished with our first, ever, live televised exorcism last month," Henry Schleiff, group president at Discovery, said in the statement. "We also want to own the other end of the spectrum, providing viewers with the single most boring program ever to appear on television during Thanksgiving… even more boring than the Detroit Lions football game."

The special is based on Destination America's series "Railroad Alaska," which follows a crew of railroaders who battle the elements to keeps Alaska's trains running.

Destination America isn't the only TV network looking to relax viewers Thanksgiving weekend.

Scripps Network's Travel Channel will air a 12-hour road trip called "Slow Road Live," on Nov. 27, which is also Black Friday.

The "slow TV" format originated in Norway, where five million people, or over 70% of the population, watched a cruise ship sail around the Norwegian coast live for five days.

There is some precedent in the U.S., at least. WPIX in New York has for decades aired its marathon of burning yule log on Christmas. And Arby's dabbled with the idea last spring when it aired a 13-hour commercial in Duluth, Minn., of a brisket being smoked.

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