David Hasselhoff is heading to Germany to star in a comedy spy series produced by Christian Alvart’s Berlin-based Syrreal Entertainment in what will be the first project from the company’s new international first-look deal with CBS Studios.
A straight-to-series order for Mediengruppe RTL’s SVOD platform TVNow, “Ze Network” sees Hasselhoff playing himself as he travels to Germany to headline a stage production in what he believes is a major theater in East Berlin, only to discover it’s actually a small venue located “east of Berlin” — in the town of Görlitz. Once there, the Hoff is plunged into the center of an international conspiracy of former Cold War assassins, while around him the fabric of reality seems to break down.
German actor Henry Hübchen (“Go for Zucker,” “8 Days”) likewise plays himself, co-starring with Hasselhoff in the play. This version of Hübchen, however, has a more shadowy East German past than his real-life counterpart: He’s also a member of the mysterious organization known as the Network.
The eight-part series was created by Alvart and co-written by Arend Remmers (“Sløborn,” “Dreamfactory”), with Alvart also set to direct. “Ze Network” will shoot on location in Görlitz, Berlin, Poland and in an as of yet unspecified Middle Eastern country. “Ze Network” is expected to premiere on TVNow next year.
Syrreal CEO Sigi Kamml and Timm Oberwelland are producing.
“Ze Network” marks Hasselhoff’s return to German TV, where he enjoyed huge popularity with shows like “Knight Rider” and “Baywatch.”
“‘Knight Rider’ was incredibly successful for both me and RTL,” said Hasselhoff, who also serves as an executive producer on the show. “Returning now 30 years later to do a cutting-edge series and working with RTL again is a dream come true. The series is funny, deadly, creative and informative … simply exciting. Fact or fiction, you decide.”
Kamml added: “Today, with all this wonderful entertainment, it becomes harder than ever to keep things interesting, so we will try to surprise people with this show. ‘Ze Network’ is a series with an outstanding cast and a very unusual story. I am delighted that TVNow and CBS Studios see the potential of this project.”
Alvart echoed the sentiment: “I’m thrilled to find myself working with partners who are ready to bring a wild, surprising and unique concept just as this into the entertainment world. I can’t wait to share with audiences the crazy ride Mr. Hasselhoff will be bravely taking on with Ze Germans.”
Meghan Lyvers, senior VP of international co-productions and development at CBS Studios, said Syrreal Entertainment was “a known home for character-driven, provocative storytelling, and we are so pleased to be partnering with Christian, Sigi and their team as they create new series for the global audience. ‘Ze Network’ promises to be an entertaining, genre-bending series which is tailor made for David Hasselhoff to star. In a time where audiences crave escapism and fun, we are thrilled to support this series with our partners at Syrreal and TVNow.”
CBS Studios has remake and other derivative rights for the series, and ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group will handle the distribution outside of German speaking territories.
Under their new pact, Syrreal and CBS Studios will focus on sourcing, acquiring and developing premium scripted content for the international market that is creatively anchored in Germany. Syrreal’s other productions have included ZDF’s hit pandemic thriller “Sløborn,” the Netlflix crime drama “Dogs of Berlin,” “Case 39,” “Free Country” and “Pandorum.”
Season two of “Sløborn” is set to go into production in April on the North Sea island of Norderney, Brandenburg and the Polish coast near Gdańsk. Recovering from the pandemic of season one, the island community will face a major blackout in its second season, leaving the island offline and completely isolated.