German Late Night Champ Harald Schmidt Moves to Sky

courtesy of Sat.1

Commercial network Sat.1 cancelled Schmidt's most recent late night show after only one season.

COLOGNE, Germany - Germany's late night king Harold Schmidt is moving his titular talk show to Sky Deutschland, the pay-TV operator controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Schmidt, often called Germany's David Letterman, is the first A-list entertainer to bring an original show to Sky and the deal marks a major coup for the channel.

The new Harald Schmidt Show will air on Sky Deutschland's Sky Atlantic and Sky Hits channels starting this Fall and will feature VIP guests as well as Schmidt's trademark satirical humor. Kogel & Schmidt, the shingle Schmidt runs with media exec Fred Kogel, will continue to produce the show.

Schmidt's last show for commercial network Sat.1 airs Thursday. Sat.1 cancelled the late night talker after only one season, citing poor ratings. Schmidt's show started out strong, drawing a 14 per cent share in the key 14-49 demo but soon slipped, falling as low as 5 per cent before Sat.1 pulled the plug. Schmidt remains a nationally-recognized celebrity but has struggled to reach a large late night audience. A previous show on public broadcaster ARD also failed to deliver the hoped-for ratings.

But ratings are unlikely to be a major issue at subscriber-supported Sky. If only a fraction of Schmidt's fan base follows him to the pay network, the deal will pay off handsomely.

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