Wolfgang Bosbach, 61, from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party was asked on a celebrity version of the quiz show why the WM66 brand of washing machine was so legendary in former East Germany.
His options were: a) it could generate electricity for heating, b) you could use it to boil food, c) it could also be used as a vacuum cleaner, or d) it received radio signals from West Germany.
Stuck on the €500,000 question, Bosbach decided to phone a friend - Merkel. But after the chancellor failed to pick up the second time, he joked she was busy “saving the world”.
Bosbach failed to pick the right answer (b) and left the show with €125,000. He said he later got a text from Merkel asking him what he wanted.
“I’m not sure I would’ve done her a favour if she’d answered the phone,” Bosbach said. “I don’t know if she would’ve known the answer.”
The show was also a great success for broadcaster RTL with 7.67 million people watching it, it highest figure since 2011.