Germany: Nets aim to terminate rivals

Mip Territory Reports

BERLIN — German broadcasting groups RTL Deutschland and ProSiebenSat1 are lining up what they hope will be heavy-hitters as they seek to break the dominance of pubcasters ARD and ZDF.

Hoping to attract a bigger slice of the youth pie, ProSiebenSat 1 has acquired a slew of new shows from Warner Bros., including “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “Moonlight,” “Pushing Daisies” and “Gossip Girl.”

Also coming this fall is spy skein “Chuck” and, from a recent deal with Sony, ProSiebenSat1 picked up the steamy historical drama “The Tudors” and Glenn Close starrer “Damages.”

In February, ProSieben launched “Private Practice” in a Wednesday night timeslot following “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” The spinoff has proved a hit for the web and bolstered one of ProSieben’s most successful primetime lineups.

ProSieben’s Mystery Monday showcase has become a popular platform for sci-fi and fantasy fare, including “Lost” and “Supernatural.” Those shows have seen recent dips in viewers, however, but ProSieben is confident they’ll continue to attract the web’s target auds.

Despite some difficulties with serialized dramas, Ruediger Boess, ProSiebenSat1’s senior VP of group programming acquisitions, says viewers will tune in to “Lost” as long as the storyline remains easy to follow, but if it gets too complicated, “the audience is lost.”

With “Supernatural” set to return this fall for season two, vampire crime drama “Moonlight” will likely move into its Mystery Monday timeslot in June.

Sci-fi and fantasy remain hot on German TV. Among ProSieben’s high-profile local productions this year is “Lost City Raiders,” a sci-fi actioner about underwater adventurers looking to salvage what they can from an inundated, overwarmed Earth.

Pic, produced by Tandem Communications for ProSieben and the Sci Fi Channel, stars James Brolin, Ian Somerhalder and Jamie Thomas King and will be one of Tandem’s highlights at this year’s Mip confab in Cannes.

“We can be an instrumental part of big-budget event programs, with elements that are viable not only for the international market but for the German market and our target audience,” says Juergen Hoerner, head of program planning at ProSieben.

Leading commercial channel RTL, meanwhile, continues to top the charts among the 14-49 demo with “CSI: Miami,” “House” and the original “CSI” as well as mainstays “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and local “Idol” version “Deutschland sucht den Superstar.”

RTL programmers have yet to unveil this year’s crop of new U.S. shows, although they are banking on upcoming inhouse productions such as “Die 25. Stunde” (The 25th Hour), about a journalist and single mother who discovers she has the ability to travel one hour back in time.

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