WDR chief has words for Jauch

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COLOGNE, Germany -- The new head of German public broadcaster WDR is making a name for herself by criticizing one of Germany's most beloved TV personalities: game and talk show host Guenther Jauch.

Jauch, who hosts the top-rated "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" and "Stern TV" on commercial channel RTL, has signed on to replace journalist Sabine Christiansen as host of Germany's leading political talk show on pubcaster ARD.

Jauch's contract, however, must still be approved by ARD's board, which is made up of representatives from Germany's regional channels, including WDR.

In an interview with German weekly Die Zeit, WDR director-to-be Monika Piel attacked Jauch's decision to work for both a commercial and public broadcaster at the same time.

"Either you are with us (the public broadcasters) or you are with the commercial channels," she said.

Piel also said Jauch's many advertising contracts -- the presenter is a TV pitchman for everything from state lotteries to mail-order catalogs -- could represent a conflict of interest.

"People working as journalists (on the pubcasters) cannot appear in commercials," Piel insisted, arguing that ARD's reputation as a broadcaster of record could be damaged as a result.

Piel takes over as WDR head in July. She will be the first woman to take the post.

This week, she laid out her strategy for the channel, announcing plans to target younger viewers with new late-night formats.

WDR also announced it will make monthly science show "Quarks & Co.," which has a younger-skewing audience, a weekly program next year.
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