'Schwarzwaldklinik', 'Traumschiff' and other soaps – does a model for success exist for TV?


FAU researchers investigate papers of TV producer Wolfgang Rademann

Wolfgang Rademann was both a successful producer of popular and long-running German TV series such as ‘Die Schwarzwaldklinik’ and a well-known public figure. What were the secrets of his success? This is what media scientists Prof. Dr. Kay Kirchmann and Dr. Sven Grampp from FAU are trying to find out by studying Rademann’s professional papers. The German Research Foundation (DFG) awarded a grant for the project worth 200,000 euros in October.

Which stakeholders contribute to a series actually being produced? How has entertainment television changed in Germany since the 1960s? What made Wolfgang Rademann the only television producer to enjoy such success over the course of several decades, and make frequent public appearances himself? FAU researchers Kay Kirchmann and Sven Grampp at the Chair of Media Studies hope to find answers to these questions in Rademann’s papers. In conjunction with the Kinemathek Berlin, where the papers are archived, and the German television channel ZDF, Kirchmann and Grampp want to digitally record the data, put it into context and thus investigate developments in the production process. Their aim is to find out how Rademann managed to devise his projects such as ‘Die Schwarzwaldklinik’ and ‘Das Traumschiff’ in such a way that they enjoy continued success. All those involved in television production also play an important role in the research. How did the complex network of people change during the years? The media researchers are looking at samples spaced ten years apart to track these developments.

Detailed archive, but no research

The FAU research project is innovative, as German entertainment television has never been researched historically from the perspective of production studies. Such studies usually take an ethnological approach to the film or television set and not the archive documents, as they often don’t contain enough material.

Rademann’s papers are especially suitable for this research project, as he painstakingly kept all correspondence between actors, television channels and fans and responses in the media over the course of several decades. In addition, no research literature currently exists about Rademann himself.

Gaining a better understanding of German television production

The researchers’ approach will enable them to provide a better understanding of procedures in television production processes in Germany and to define the special characteristics of German television production. Furthermore, they are focusing on the workers behind the camera who usually remain hidden during productions, but who are decisive for the success or failure of the project.

‘You could say that we’re researching whether there’s a model for successful communication for a television producer’, says Grampp.

Further information:

Dr. Sven Grampp
Phone: +49 9131 8529340

Addition information