'When We Leave' star topples 'Harry Potter' in German TV debut

Sibel Kekilli's "Tatort" debut draws an audience of 8.5 million viewers


COLOGNE, Germany – Sibel Kekilli, the star of Germany's 2011 Oscar hopeful When We Leave conquered the small screen Sunday night with her TV debut on hit German crime series Tatort (Crime Scene).

Some 8.5 million viewers tuned in to watch Tatort on public network ARD, a 22.4% market share, easily besting imported competition in the form of Pro7's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (3.7 million viewers) and The Mentalist and Navy CIS on Sat.1 (3.7 million and 3.6 million respectively).

Kekilli, who rocketed onto the international stage with Berlin Festival Golden Bear winner Head-On (2004), may become a regular on German TV. ARD has an option to make her character -- Sarah Brandt -- a recurring figure in the series.

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