BERLIN — For the first time ever, a commercial broadcaster beat out pubcaster rivals at the German Television Awards.

RTL Television not only had more nominations going into Saturday’s awards ceremony in Cologne, it also won nine prizes, including new series for “Doctor’s Diary,” a show about a young female medic that has been compared to “Grey’s Anatomy.”

RTL also won cinematography for TV movies “Die dunkle seite” (The Dark Side) and “Tarragona,” editing (“Das juengste gericht”), production design (“Tarragona”), entertainment show for its “Idol” version “Deutschland sucht den superstar” and reality format for “Die ausreisser” (The Runaways), about a streetworker’s efforts to reunite families with their runaway kids.

Pubcaster ARD, which took six prizes, won best film for its TV movie “Contergan” (Side Effects), which chronicles the Thalidomide drug scandal of the early 1960s that resulted in birth defects in thousands of babies in Europe. The film became the subject of a lengthy and much publicized court battle last year between producers and pharmaceutical giant Gruenenthal, which sought unsuccessfully to block the German broadcast.

Director kudos went to Connie Walther for ARD’s “12 heisst: Ich liebe dich” (12 Means: I Love You), a fact-based pic about a dissident locked up by East German authorities who falls in love with the Stasi officer who spends months interrogating her.

Katrin Buehlig won screenplay honors for ZDF’s crime drama “Bella Block: Weisse naechte,” one of the pubcaster’s five wins.

Veronica Ferres was named best actress for her role in ARD’s Cold War drama “Die frau von Checkpoint Charlie” (The Woman From Checkpoint Charlie), while Misel Maticevic won actor for his performances in three pics: RTL’s “Die dunkle seite,” “Das geluebde” from ARD affiliate WDR and Arte plus ARD’s “Die todesautomatik.” Lifetime achievement honoree Marcel Reich-Ranicki turned down his award from the podium, denouncing the kudofest as “idiotic.”