'30 Rock' scores zero rating in Germany

Fewer than 5,000 viewers tuned in Sunday for free TV debut

COLOGNE, Germany -- If "TGS" got ratings like this, Jack Donaghy would have killed it years ago.

In its free TV debut on German television Sunday night Emmy-winning comedy "30 Rock" scored a 0.0 rating, meaning fewer than 5,000 viewers tuned in.

Making Germans laugh is never easy, but the debut was below even the lowest forecasts of broadcaster ZDFNeo.

It probably didn't help that "30 Rock" was dubbed into German -- standard practice for U.S. series here -- or that the channel's penetration, around 40% or about 24 million Germany households, meant some potential fans couldn't tune in. Pay TV network TNT, which reaches around 2.5 million households in German-speaking Europe, has been airing the series since February but does not publish ratings data.

ZDFNeo, a digital niche channel run by pubweb ZDF, had made "30 Rock" the flagship in its new relaunch, promising more cutting edge programming for a younger demographic.

But no one, young or old, tuned in Sunday. BBC comedy "Taking the Flak" also failed to register on the ratings scale and even action drama "The Sentinel" (2006) barely made a dent, reaching 30,000 viewers, for a 0.2% share.

In its old incarnation -- as documentary niche network ZDFDoku -- the channel averaged a 0.3% market share. ZDF's ratings goal is a 0.6% share by the end of next year. The channel, which like most German networks dubs all U.S. programs, the public broadcaster has set aside a budget of €30 million ($44 million) for the relaunch.