RTL slashes fiction department

Cutting 20 jobs by the end of the year

COLOGNE, Germany -- Commercial TV giant RTL is all but shutting down its in-house fiction and sitcom departments after a series of homegrown flops.

RTL confirmed Tuesday that it will cut about 20 positions in its fiction department by the end of the year.

While imported U.S. series such as "House" and "CSI" continue to draw audiences for the channel, RTL has for years been unable to produce a new German-language fiction hit. Instead, it relies almost entirely on German adaptations of international reality formats such as "Supernanny" and "Pop Idol."

RTL has also been hit hard by the sharp drop in TV ad sales that have followed the economic recession. CEO Anke Schaferkordt has evidently chosen cheaper imports over the economic risk inherent with local production.
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