RTL wins victory in ‘Baby’ battle

Cologne fails to halt show airing in Germany

A court in Cologne cleared the way for the German version of reality show “Baby Borrowers” to air on schedule Wednesday evening on commercial web RTL.

Known in Germany as “Erwachsen auf probe” (which translates roughly to “Temporarily Adult”), the format places infants and small children in the care of four teenage couples, and under TV cameras, for several days.

The show’s fate had been up in the air following protests from government and healthcare officials and an attempt by the city of Cologne’s office for children, youth and family affairs to block the show from airing.

Critics accused RTL of exploiting and abusing infants by using them as test objects for a TV experiment and of endangering their lives for the sake of ratings.

The skein is produced by U.K.-based Love Prods. in Blighty and the U.S., where it aired on NBC, and by Tresor TV in Germany.

The court ruled that the city had no jurisdiction over RTL’s broadcast, stressing that only state media regulators have legal jurisdiction over commercial broadcasters with regards to the protection of children and questions of human dignity.

The city did have jurisdiction during production of the show, however, and could have taken action then had it deemed it necessary, a court rep said.

While several state media regulators, including those of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, expressed concern and asked RTL not to air the show, no legal measures have been taken against the broadcasting giant.

RTL execs have led a public relations campaign for the show that included a special screening for critics and the press.

RTL topper Anke Schaeferkordt has stressed that the infants were under parental and professional supervision at all times.

All the episodes have also been reviewed by the FSF, Germany’s self-regulatory TV org.

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