German Chancellor Misses 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Phone-a-Friend Call Twice (Video)

A political ally of Angela Merkel called her twice during a celebrity episode of the TV quiz show but only got her voicemail.
Angela Merkel

It seems Angela Merkel had better things to do with her time.

One of Merkel's political allies twice tried to reach the German chancellor during the broadcast of the local version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? But all he got was Merkel's voicemail.

STORY: Terry Crews Named New 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' Host

Wolfgang Bosbach, appearing on a celebrity charity version of the quiz show, had named Merkel as one of his telephone "jokers," or the lifeline equivalent of "phone a friend." When a question came about life in former East Germany -- where Merkel grew up -- he gave the chancellor a call. "She's always happy to see me and hear my voice," Bosbach told the show's host, Gunther Jauch.

The question: What made the East Germany model WM66 washing machine legendary in the former GDR? If he answered correctly, Bosbach, currently deputy chairman of Merkel's CDU/CSU parliamentary group, stood to win $681,000 (€500,000) for charity. Unable to reach Merkel, Bosbach bowed out, settling for a $170,000 (€125,000) cash prize. The correct answer was that many owners of the washing machine also used it to stew fruit.

At the end of the show, Merkel -- recently named by Forbes as the most powerful woman in the world -- sent Bosbach a text message, saying: "OK whatever it was, warm greetings from am."

But the real winner was German network RTL. The channel teased the chancellor's "appearance" on the show, which was prerecorded, and 7.67 million viewers took the bait -- a 27.4 percent share, making Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? by far the most successful program on German TV Tuesday night.

In America, Terry Crews will take over as host of the game show for Cedric the Entertainer.