Bad news for TV writers in Germany. The network RTL is shutting down their in-house fiction and comedy departments entirely after their slate of homegrown show flopped miserably in the ratings, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
While imported U.S. series such as "House" and "CSI" continue to draw audiences for the channel, RTL has for years been unable to produce a new German-language fiction hit. Instead, it relies almost entirely on German adaptations of international reality formats such as "Supernanny" and "Pop Idol."
RTL has also been hit hard by the sharp drop in TV ad sales that have followed the economic recession. CEO Anke Schaferkordt has evidently chosen cheaper imports over the economic risk inherent with local production.
As someone at Pro7, another German network told me, they can buy three American series for what it costs to produce one original German show. And there's a lot less incentive to make German shows when they keep bombing.
The only consistent homegrown, scripted drama hit on RTL is ALARM FOR COBRA 11, made by my friends at Action Concept, and that's now in its 16th season. Action Concept has a new series for RTL called LASKO: FIST OF GOD that is premiering later this month. I'm hoping that LASKO will buck the trend and be a big hit.