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Wetten, dass? stopped after on-air accident
Photo: DPA

Wetten, dass? stopped after on-air accident

Published: 05 Dec 2010 10:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Dec 2010 10:14 GMT+01:00

One of Germany’s biggest television shows, Wetten, dass? was ended early on Saturday night, before global stars including Take That and Justin Bieber could perform, after a candidate seriously injured himself in a stunt.

The 23-year-old student Samuel Koch was trying to jump over a series of moving cars while wearing spring stilts, but something caught on the fourth vehicle and he fell and lay motionless on the floor.

Hosts Thomas Gottschalk and Michelle Hunziker called for a doctor and the cameras panned away from the stage where the man was lying. The television feed was soon switched to repeats of musical acts which had previously appeared on the show, which regularly attracts millions of viewers across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

After 25 minutes of musical repeats, Gottschalk announced that the show would not go on. Samuel Koch was being operated on in hospital and there was no detailed news on how he was.

“We will here and now break off the programme,” said Gottschalk. “Anything else would be wrong. We here at ZDF feel responsible to not make jolly when we are not.”

He said that Samuel Koch was conscious and could feel his legs, but that he was being operated on at the University Hospital in Dusseldorf.

Introducing the stunt, Gottschalk had told the audience that he had been very worried when watching rehearsals of Samuel Koch jumping over cars being driven towards him, according to Der Spiegel.

“I have never been so scared, that something would happen to this young man. I can only say, I hope all goes well,” he said.

The magazine speculated on Sunday that the stunts performed by members of the public on the show were becoming increasingly dangerous at least in part due to competition from Das Supertalent show which is scheduled at the same time on commercial station RTL.

Samuel Koch was jumping over successively bigger cars, and broke off the second jump, looking irritated and stressed, according to Der Spiegel. The third car he cleared, but the fourth, which was being driven by his father, was too much, he caught himself on it somehow and crashed to the floor.

It is the first time in 29 years that the show has been broken off. “It is the first time in my long, long career that such a thing has happened and we have carried out many dangerous stunts,” Gottschalk said later. “I have always said that would be the worst thing for me, if something happened to one of my candidates in a live show. I regret enormously that this has now happened.”

DAPD/The Local/AFP/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:44 December 5, 2010 by pepsionice
Two observations: first, over the past decade....I've noticed at least twenty stunts that I would not have allowed on national TV like this....via Wetten Dass. They've had this mentality of acceptance long before any competition like they mention.

Second....the audience who watches this show is typically over the age of 30. The younger audience typically doesn't watch the show. I would speculate that the management of the show convinced folks that these "stunts" were necessary to capture the younger audience.

This is the end of the wild stunt period, and we can now go back to dog tricks and old women identifying forty-four types of tea pots by just feeling the spout while blindfolded.
14:29 December 5, 2010 by Henrik1966
@Iain & Siobhan:

Of course "Wetten dass.. ?" has no time delay ... this is Europe not the USA ... if we watch something live we want the real deal and not something that has been or can be influenced på the tv station!!! Another "Nipple gate" is no threat for Europeans!!! And even swearing is not something that should be beeped out!!!
17:15 December 5, 2010 by DanielF
Yes but Henrik, Yorkshire is in England, not the USA.
17:25 December 5, 2010 by scallywagy
Which has us wondering even more, who should be more worried now- the host, the the victim attempting to please the audience, his family, the competing show or the audience who will now be forced to metaphorically complete their own stunts?

http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2010/12/stuntman-seriously-injured-live-on-german-tv-show-wetten-dass/
18:13 December 5, 2010 by Landmine
It's just stupid to do things like this in the first place.....
18:41 December 5, 2010 by auniquecorn
@ Henrik1966

If they had time-delay, My 6 year old daughter, along with thousands of other children would not of had to see this,

Time-delay serves a purpose.
19:07 December 5, 2010 by inmyopinion
It is irresponsible to allow stunts like this in a show. In the end it was up to Gottschalk to say no, and that he didn¦#39;t, just added another example to demonstrate ¦quot;cognitive distortion¦quot;. What¦#39;s next? Russian roulette?
21:18 December 5, 2010 by acb
@ auniquecorn: shouldn't a 6year old be in bed by 8pm?
21:48 December 5, 2010 by Al Davis
@ auniquecorn

I think that you are an irrisponsible parent to let your 6yr old stay up this late and watch a dangerous live stunt.

Or are you that 'kin stupid you do not understand the meaning of the word "LIVE"

@ inmyopinion

Whats wrong with Russion roulette (coward)
00:18 December 6, 2010 by bartschaff
Time delay in TV shows is for moralist hypocrites and cowards.

If the public wants to watch a guy performing some useless task that can end up in his death, fine, I do too, but watch it on then.

@ auniquecorn: learning that doing something stupid can get you hurt is a valuable lesson for a kid.

And, still on time dealy ""live"" shows: only a morally sick society considers some nudity or swering to be utterly inaceptable on tv. F**k! That's how people speak. @Tits@ for you.
01:00 December 6, 2010 by dcgi
The battle of the freak-shows is hotting up.
09:46 December 6, 2010 by moistvelvet
@auniquecorn "If they had time-delay, My 6 year old daughter, along with thousands of other children would not of had to see this"

Actually isn't it better to see this as an example of what not to do, obviously children of that age won't be jumping cars but a lesson in the dangers of falling on your head or neck leading to paralysis isn't such a bad thing.

@acb "shouldn't a 6year old be in bed by 8pm?"

shouldn't you mind your own business and leave parents decide for themselves what time their children go to bed.

No matter how bad this accident may have been, the guy did choose to do this stunt. Rather like Noel Edmonds in the UK when someone died whilst doing a stunt, could this be the end of Wetten das? or will the shocked and horrified audience forget all about Samuel Koch come New Year!
22:46 December 6, 2010 by Talonx
@ The Local

¦quot;We here at ZDF feel responsible to not make jolly when we are not.¦quot;

That sentence is not a translation.
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