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TV talent show sparks anger with kids' version
Photo: DPA

TV talent show sparks anger with kids' version

Published: 14 Mar 2012 13:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Mar 2012 13:00 GMT+01:00

Child protection groups have warned parents against letting their kids compete in Germany’s latest talent show – a version of Deutschland sucht den Superstar (“Germany seeks a superstar”) open to children as young as four.

“I advise parents not to apply,” Heinz Hilgers, president of the German child protection association (DKSB), said on Wednesday, after commercial broadcaster RTL announced that “DSDS Kids” would search for young singing stars aged between four and 14.

Hilgers said that the adult version of the show, where contestants have to be at least 16, was based on humiliation and embarrassment, and that an appearance on the show could have grave consequences for a child’s future development.

DKSB director Paula Honkanen-Schoberth was also appalled by the idea.

"Casting shows are geared towards making one person successful,” she told the Märkische Allgemeine newspaper. “The message for the rest is, 'you're no good.'"

"Children are not able to keep the consequences of a show like that in perspective," she said.

Apart from the prize money, children on "DSDS Kids" will compete for a stipend to invest in further show business training.

The application deadline for the first season is March 31, though no details for the date of the first broadcast, the length of the season, or the identity of the jurors have been released yet.

“Young people and kids have asked me a thousand times: why is there no DSDS for us?” top juror Dieter Bohlen said in RTL’s statement. “The fact that we’re doing it now is amazing.”

One of the show’s main features is Bohlen’s notoriously unforgiving judgements of wannabe popstars.

Media reports have speculated that the move is a sign of desperation, since ratings have dropped in recent seasons. Last Saturday’s broadcast represented a low-point for the show – it could not even match the ratings of prank show Verstehen Sie Spaß? on state broadcaster ARD.

The Local/DAPD/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:21 March 14, 2012 by catjones
Hey Heinz, I agree. In keeping with your concerns advise parents to withdraw their kids from sports...you know, winners and LOSERS. While you're at it, keep them from school (failing grades lead to low self-esteem).
15:36 March 14, 2012 by Englishted
@catjones

I see your point but have you seen those American child beauty contests they are sick. People are worried it maybe a step in that direction thats all.
18:30 March 14, 2012 by michael4096
interesting it's the week the Hunger Games is released.

My biggest question would be: who on earth would watch it?
22:51 March 14, 2012 by lordkorner
Watched RTL once,once was enough...
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