German Soap 'Lindenstrasse' to Wrap Up in 2020 After 35 Years on Air

Courtesy of ARD
Til Schweiger (right) on 'Lindenstrasse'

German star Til Schweiger ('Inglourious Basterds') got his start on the longest-running series, which has been a staple of German TV since the 1980s.

Lindenstrasse, Germany's longest-running television soap, will wrap up in 2020, after 35 years on air.

Public broadcaster ARD, which has aired the weekly soap since December, 1985, announced Friday it was canceling Lindenstrasse. The final episode will go out in March, 2020.

ARD program director Volker Herres said giving Germany's first soap the ax wasn't an easy decision.

“But we have to say, soberly and with regret, that (declining) audience interest and unavoidable cost-cutting are incompatible with the production costs of such a high-quality series,” Herres said in a statement.

Inspired by the long-running British soap Coronation Street, Lindenstrasse was one of the most successful shows on German television. Like Coronation Street, Lindenstrasse told the stories of families living on a single street — in this case the fictional Lindenstrasse in Munich.

In the late 80s, the weekly half-hour show regularly drew more than 10 million viewers. By 2018, however, viewership had shrunk to just over 2 million per episode. The more traditional soap is also a poor fit for ARD, which has recently been focusing on high-end drama such as Babylon Berlin.

Over the years, Lindenstrasse has been the launchpad for scores of German on and offscreen talent, most famously German superstar Til Schweiger (Inglourious Basterds), who got his start playing bad boy Jo Zenker on the show from 1990 to 1992.