German Star Host Thomas Gottschalk Signs with RTL

Thomas Gottschalk - P 2013
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Thomas Gottschalk - P 2013

The former host of “Wanna Bet?” will develop and host shiny floor entertainment shows for the commercial TV giant.

COLOGNE: Thomas Gottschalk, arguably Germany's most famous television host, has signed an exclusive contract with the country's leading commercial network, RTL Television, that will see him co-develop and host a number of high-profile entertainment shows.

Gottschalk was a juror on the last season of RTL's Got Talent show, one of the channel's biggest ratings draws. According to Frank Hoffmann, managing director of programming at RTL TV, that cooperation led to a series of “inspiring talks” with Gottschalk and to the current cooperation, under which RTL will develop several entertainment shows custom-tailored for Gottschalk to host.

The 63-year-old showman was the long-running host of Wanna Bet?, a top-rated variety show on German public broadcaster ZDF, before stepping down in 2011 following a near-fatal accident during the live broadcast of the program. His attempt to shift gears with an access primetime talker, Gottschalk Live! on pubweb ARD was a ratings flop and was canceled mid-season. He recently dropped plans to host a pop music-themed event show for ARD, scheduled for the summer.

“I too now realize that viewers don't want me on a small stage nor in front of it. They want a big show,” said Gottschalk, explaining his move to RTL. “And they will be getting several of them.”

RTL and Gottschalk are keeping details of the new programs under wraps for now.