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L.A. Screenings: Germany

Hit shows allow for few vacancies for Yank newcomers

BERLIN — RTL Television comes to the Screenings with a big appetite for new programming but not much room.

“All our slots are well filled, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have space for new, first-class formats,” says Dirk Schweitzer, RTL’s head of sales and acquisitions. “In principle, we are interested in all genres. Primarily, we are looking for outstanding event programming and high-quality primetime series.”

RTL has enjoyed huge success with “CSI: Miami” and could further boost its ratings with “House,” which started airing in May. Along with “Monk,” it’s the third U.S. series on RTL in primetime — a major change from a few years ago when the web had no U.S. shows on in the evenings.

“Crime always works,” Schweitzer explains. “It’s not clear how long the forensics trend will last, but at the moment, these series are doing extremely well.”

Despite the huge success of “CSI: Miami” on RTL Television, it’s locally produced shows that remain the biggest audience draws on German TV.

ARD’s medical dramas “Familie Dr. Kleist” and “In aller Freundschaft,” ZDF’s crime series “Der Alte” and “SOKO Leipzig,” RTL’s “Alarm for Cobra 11” and Sat 1’s telenovela “Verliebt in Berlin” (That’s Life) are the top ratings winners, but U.S. programming on ProSieben, Kabel Eins and RTL 2 and VOX have helped those webs maintain high shares in the key 14-49 demo.

Medical and forensics shows as well as sci-fi and fantasy dramas remain hot genres among imported skeins and Teutonic buyers will surely be on the lookout at the Screenings for more of the same. ProSieben is hoping to continue the successful trend with CBS Paramount’s “The 4400,” which started in May. The web’s other current popular shows include “Medical Investigation,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “ER” and “Queer as Folk.”

Kabel Eins, part of the ProSiebenSat 1 group, has increased the number of new shows in its lineup, such as “Cold Case,” “Missing,” “Medium” and “Without a Trace.”

While “Smallville” has remained a not-ready-for-primetime player on RTL, it remains a Saturday afternoon hit on the web — now in back-to-back double doses. RTL affiliate VOX also showcases primarily U.S. fare such as the audience-grabbing “CSI” and “CSI: NY” as well as “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Crossing Jordan” and “Gilmore Girls.”

On RTL 2, sci-fi hits such as “Battlestar Galactica” and “Stargate Atlantis” enjoy a prominent position, but the web also offers popular skeins like “24,” “Dead Zone” and “Law & Order: SVU.”

Yet some of webs that have long relied on strong U.S. content are also discovering more success with local productions. ProSieben has managed to increase its ratings with “Die ProSieben Maerchenstunde,” a comedy that adapts classic fairy tales and has garnered shares of nearly 29% among target demos, as well as with popular formats such as “Germany’s Next Top Model — by Heidi Klum,” which also garnered big auds.

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