Court starts investigation of RTL reality show

Based on NBC format 'The Baby Borrowers'

COLOGNE, Germany -- RTL is testing the old saw that there's no such thing as bad publicity after a Cologne court Friday began an investigation of the German commercial network for airing controversial reality series "Erwachsen auf Probe."

The investigation is in response to more than 50 complaints alleging neglect and bodily harm of minors in the making of the show. In the program, an adaptation of the NBC format "The Baby Borrowers," teenagers thinking of having children are given real babies to raise for a month.

"Erwachsen auf Probe" has been hugely controversial in Germany. Church officials, family organizations and even members of the German parliament called on the show to be pulled before it went on air.

Senior prosecutor Rainer Wolf, however, said it was "unlikely" RTL would be charged with any criminal offense. RTL declined to comment Friday.
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