These are currently the top 10 German TV shows:
9. “Stubbe – von Fall zu Fall” with 6.42 Million Viewers
8. “Um Himmels Willen” with 6.64 Million Viewers
7. “Bauer sucht Frau” with 6.91 Million Viewers
6. “DFB-Pokal – Spiele” with 6.98 Million Viewers
5. “Ich bin ein Star – holt mich hier raus” with 7.39 Million Viewers
4. “Polizeiruf 110” with 7.84 Million Viewers
3. “Tatort” with 9.2 Million Viewers
2. ZDF Sport extra: Champions League with 9.65 Million Viewers
1. “Wetten dass..?” with 9.75 Million Viewers
Undoubtedly, Germans love football (soccer), not only during the World Cup season. 3 out of the top 10 are football related TV shows. The champions League by the tv channel ZDF is the 2nd most popular tv show overall.
Notable is also that Germans have a thing for home-made crime series. Another 3 out of the top 10 are detective series:
This detective series started in 1995 and finished with its 50th episode in January of 2014. The main character is played by East German actor and comedian Wolfgang Stumph. He solves crimes in his calm, authentic and humorous manner, speaking a charming Saxon dialect. His daughter Stephanie Stumph has also been part of the main crew, playing daughter Christiane Stubbe in the series.
This action-packed crime series already started in 1972, behind the iron curtain in East Germany. I’d assume that it was intended as the socialist counterpart to “Tatort”.
After the German re-unification in 1989, the popular TV series was taken over the by ARD, a popular public TV station. Even though the cast of the main characters has changed several times over the years, the TV series is still as popular as it was during the socialist era.
This legendary crime series has been on the screen since 1970. I still remember watching these crime series as a 6 year old on Grandma’s couch.
Different to any other crime series and a major piece of its success: This one plays in various locations across Germany, e.g. Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, and each episode has a standalone story line with it local team of investigators. One of the most popular commissars is played by Götz George and Eberhard Feik (Schimanski/Thanner).
The top spot is held by an entertainment show called “Wetten dass …” (Betting that …) that has been running since 1981.
The concept of the show is this: An average Joe announces what special and/or scurrile thing he/she can perform, and a celeb bets on whether the person will be successful or not. The wager is paid in the form of entertainment or charitable work.
I think, the popularity of the show has also been greatly based on the host Thomas Gottschalk. He ran the show with enormous success from 1987 to 2011 (with brief interruption in 1992/93). Gottschalk, a radio and television host, entertainer and actor is an icon on German TV. He left the show in 2011 after one of the candidates had a serious accident when his bet went horribly wrong.
Looking at the upcoming changes among these top 10 shows, we can expect some major shifts over the next year. So, stay tuned!