Harald Schmidt moves back to Sat.1

German talkshow topper returns after 6 years at pubcaster

COLOGNE, Germany -- Harald Schmidt, Germany's answer to David Letterman, has returned to commercial network Sat.1 after six years at public broadcast competitor ARD.

Schmidt has signed a two-year contract with Sat.1 to do a new, twice-weekly late night show for the commercial channel, starting in 2011. Schmidt's original Sat.1 show, which ran from 1995-2003, established him as the king of German late night. His public taboo-breaking antics -- including on-air groping of popstars Samantha Fox and Anastasia, earned him the moniker "Dirty Harry."

In 2004 Schmidt moved to pubweb ARD, where his show became more highbrow, commenting on daily political affairs a la "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

The new "Harald Schmidt" show will be produced by Kogel & Schmidt, the production shingle Schmidt operates with his agent, Fred Kogel.