In the world of German entertainment shows.....there's only one show that generally dominated things for the past three decades....Wetten Dass.
Roughly ten times a year....on Saturday nights....Wetten Dass would arrive on state-run TV, and deliver a live show with guests, bets, and entertainment. In its big years....there would be twenty million Germans watching the show (remember, the population is around 80 million).
Last night was one of the Wetten Dass episodes....with a notice given somewhere near the end.....that there will only be three more episodes, then they wrap it up....finished.
What generally is said is that the magic formula that attracted viewers....is stale. Viewership? The estimate for last night is between five and six million. Journalists in Germany tend to write that it's a mostly over forty crowd that view the show. Healthy competition? More than what they used to get, and it gets tougher.
As an American, I've viewed the show and am mostly amazed that their magic formula for keeping viewers still works. It was designed to attract young kids, teenagers, people in their 20s and 30s, mature adults, and senior citizens. In the early days (1981), there wasn't much in terms of competition, and I suspect they really drove the numbers with big-name guests coming in for appearances.
Americans appearing? That was generally the big shock. Almost every single show had at least one major American entertainment star. Micheal Jackson once made an appearance.
The end? Well....I suspect they will clear the deck.....put everything in a box, and just quietly slip away. Five years will pass, and they will reshuffle the deck to bring back some new style Wetten Dass.
I noticed in Focus this morning....someone quoted the general cost of each show at around two million Euro, and sometimes up to around 2.5 million. When you consider the guests (usually eight to ten), their fees, the set-up of the show, the production team, and the "thrills"......it was actually a low-cost show. I think that might attract people to attempt a comeback, sometime down the road.
So, somewhere around the fall of this year......the end will come for Wetten Dass, and it'll be noted by Germans far and wide.