German TV Talk Show King Thomas Gottschalk Ends on a High

ZDF Television

Nearly 15 million tune in for Gottschalk’s last "Wanna Bet?" show with Jessica Biel, Lenny Kravitz and Karl Lagerfeld.

COLOGNE, Germany – Thomas Gottschalk, Germany’s top talk show host, ended his long run on hit variety show Wanna Bet? on a high. Nearly 15 million viewers tuned in to watch Gottschalk’s last Wanna Bet? show, which featured guests including actors Jessica Biel and Til Schweiger, fashion guru Karl Lagerfeld and basketball star Dirk Nowitzki as well as musical performances by Meatloaf and Lenny Kravitz. The three-hour farewell show scored a 46 percent rating for public broadcaster ZDF.

ZDF said it is sticking with the Wanna Bet? format – which combines talkshow chatter with funny or bizarre stunts – but so far, the channel has been unable to find a replacement for Gottschalk. Many of Germany’s top TV personalities have turned the gig down and the search for a new host has become a national obsession. The future of Wanna Bet? has a significance beyond Germany’s borders. The show’s massive ratings make it the premiere slot for plugging the release of new films, albums or television series in the territory.

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