As if there weren’t enough problems to solve, this one is added: Should Dieter Bohlen act as chief judge on the RTL format “Deutschland sucht den Superstar”? From 2002, the 68-year-old was the engine for 19 years and 18 seasons, the “DSDS” father, the pop titan had made the talent show his own, like Thomas Gottschalk “Wetten, dass?” on ZDF. Bohlen had sensed or understood that they weren’t really looking for a superstar, but that a TV audience should be well entertained about the show’s broadcast time. Gladly at the expense of the candidates, gladly at the expense of the fellow jurors, whoever.
Dieter Bohlen, the leader of the pack, blasphemed, outraged, appearances from the – sorry – “asshole” perspective. But at some point and by 2021 at the latest, the Mario Barth-same joke was cracked, the permanent tan on Bohlen’s face turned slightly gray, and still no superstar was found.
RTL was looking for the game changer – and found Florian Silbereisen. “Herr Supernett” had sung and sent himself to the heart of a not small audience, with his embracing friendliness, Silbereisen never wanted and never wants to produce victims on the show stage, as chief judge he could praise and encourage – but still not make out a superstar. And the ratings kept falling. It is obvious that the brave Silbereisen is a true force among his hit friends and, as a declared positivist and dedicated captain, did not want to capsize ZDF’s “ship of dreams”.
And whether cynical or not, the more human orientation of “DSDS”, the silver ironization did not bring about the turnaround, for hardcore fans Bohlen is the real reason to switch on, here the basic need for blaspheming (if not bullying) was met in the best possible way.
No, if the 40-year-old Silbereisen has to vacate the executive chair at “DSDS”, it’s not a defeat. SF has given what SF could give and he will continue to thrive in his accepted Silbereisen roles on the television stage. The problem of “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” is deeper. To the question of whether a Dieter Bohlen can find his old quota stature, there is a second, at least as important: Can “DSDS” still be saved? Does this show have the potential of a “Wetten, dass?”, This evergreen among TV shows.
Age does not protect against youth, that applies to the ZDF format, but also to “Germany’s Next Top Model” on ProSieben. The private broadcaster and its star have brilliantly revitalized this format with the diversity model and the abandonment of age restrictions.
Does RTL have the creativity for a “DSDS” 2.0? Does the audience want to see the show and its master rise like a phoenix from the TV ashes? Despite all intensive research, the spectator is an unknown quantity because he is fickle. Applauds Harry Wijnvoord’s comeback with “The price is hot”, the next moment he sends the former RTL star Birgit Schrowange back into the wings when he re-enters the TV sphere on Sat 1. The number of viewers on “DSDS” gradually fell from 9.5 million in 2002 to 6.5 million in season seven to 3.2 million in 2021. With Silbereisen, the number of viewers in the group of 14 to 49 year olds fell further to under two million viewers. “It has been found that DSDS, if at all, only works with Dieter,” quotes “Bild” from an RTL employee who is not named.
RTL does not want to comment on the report. “But a statement will follow in due course,” said a spokesman for the Tagesspiegel without further information on the timing. But it will “certainly not be lightning”. The Bohlen return is not official, but the broadcaster does not want to deny it either. After all, the motto of RTL Managing Director Henning Tewes – less riot, more empathy – didn’t work out.
The question remains: In times of influencers and TikTok, who still needs a TV show that continues to claim that a superstar is wanted here under all circumstances? Dieter Bohlen trampled over this question, which has always remained open, thanks to immense “candidate abuse”. If “DSDS” was, is and will remain just the show of a Dieter Bohlen, a new edition is just a Dieter Bohlen who has fallen out of time.