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Bettina Tietjen says of herself that she is never speechless.

And anyone who experiences them live or sees them on one of their talk shows will immediately believe you.

But when she thinks about it for a moment, she can think of a few moments of unusual calm.

That was the case with the actor August Zirner, one of her first guests in the “DAS!” Studio.

"He thought about every question for so long that hardly a conversation arose," recalls the moderator.

Or Manfred Kaltz, the HSV star, nicknamed "the silent one".

“He always answered yes or no.

At some point I didn't know what else to ask, I don't know anything about football either, ”she says frankly.

Bettina Tietjen has presented “DAS!” Since 1993, almost as long as the successful NDR format has existed.

These days it is celebrating its 30th birthday.

It all started in a basement studio.

“Back then we were somehow a little more anarchic,” says Tietjen.

Reinhard Münchenhagen, who was part of the first team of moderators and was there for twelve years, liked to describe the beginnings as "chaotic, weird and mostly improvised".

There were categories such as the dating agency “The Hot Wire” or “Carlos Tierauktion” with Carlo von Tiedemann.

“Animals were auctioned live in the studio.

Unthinkable today, ”says Tietjen.

This probably also applies to the lingerie models who once strutted through the main station while wearing light clothes.

For five years, the NDR broadcast directly from the foyer to get close to the people.

Another time the editorial team surprised Tietjen with a stripper for his birthday.

It was obviously uncomfortable for her.

"The humor was simply different, often very suggestive, old man jokes that fortunately are no longer possible today."

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In the beginning, “DAS!” Was a magazine with various articles, a news block, the various sections, of which only “DAS!”

Tastes - Cooking with Rainer Sass ”has survived to this day.

Instead of one star guest, there were several interviewees.

It was broadcast live from Monday to Friday, daily from the beginning of 1998.

By the way, nobody knows exactly what the three letters stand for.

In the meantime, the red sofa has become the symbol of the show anyway.

An average of 720,000 people tune in

With this piece of furniture, the format gradually turned into a talk show.

More than 10,000 guests have been seated there since 1995: international stars like Roger Moore, Giselle Bündchen, Sir Peter Ustinov and Salman Rushdie, German celebrities like Ina Müller, Iris Berben, Dieter Bohlen and numerous people with special stories.

Incidentally, with 13 visits, Mary Roos came the most frequently.

45 minutes then everything revolves around this one guest, interrupted by contributions from northern Germany.

On a good day it looks like it comes out of a river, but sometimes it is also very bumpy.

“DAS!” Is not about a deeper statement anyway, the program introduces the evening in an easily digestible way and forms a corset for the four-country agency NDR, which is then split up into the regional program windows.

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On average, 720,000 viewers tuned in nationwide every day in 2020, 577,000 of them from northern Germany.

The show achieved its worst result on June 30, 2006 with just 67,000 viewers.

At that time, the German team was playing in the quarter-finals against Argentina at the domestic soccer World Cup.

The highest number of viewers to date with 1.055 million reached DAS!

on December 5, 2013 with a special about the storm "Xaver".

Over the years, the character of the show has been strengthened, since then elaborate backdrops have been created for each individual interview partner: Marianne Sägebrecht, who temporarily lives in Suriname, South America, is then led into the recreated studio jungle, Boris Becker takes a seat in a British-looking salon, Actor Axel Prahl at the table in a living room modeled on his parents.

The main goal of the moderators, including Astrid Frohloff (1993–1995), Eva Hermann (1995–1999) and, in addition to Tietjen, Inka Schneider and since 2005 Hinnerk Baumgarten, is to create an oasis of well-being.

At the end of his visit, the interviewee Klaus Maria Brandauer, who was considered difficult, said that he would not refuse to be invited again.

The current team of moderators in the "DAS!" Studio: Hinnerk Baumgarten, Bettina Tietjen and Inka Schneider

Source: NDR / Hendrik Lüders

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Sandra Maahn (presenter 1999–2008) had been briefed in detail by the Montserrat Caballé team on how to interview the opera singer.

In the end, the supposed diva had a relaxed beer with Maahn.

Actor Michael Wittenborn initially squirmed on the red sofa, plagued by stage fright.

After 45 minutes with Inka Schneider, he wondered how quickly the time had passed.

Controversial programs with Jenny Elvers-Elbertzhagen and Katja Riemann

However, the atmosphere was anything but cozy in September 2012, when Tietjen hosted Jenny Elvers-Elbertzhagen.

Heavily drunk, she stammered through the show.

“That was one of the rare moments when I was overwhelmed,” admits Tietjen.

To this day, she does not know whether it would have been wiser to cancel the broadcast.

"Jenny was the best of things." And then came back to Tietjen twice on the show, thanking the presenter because her scandal-ridden appearance had shaken her awake.

Baumgarten also caused a stir with a broadcast.

In 2013 he had Katja Riemann as a guest, who made him appear taciturn and with crossed arms with his not very profound questions about her “golden locks”.

The moderator took it calmly.

Everything could not always be right.

“Of course you don't want to hurt or unsettle a guest, we're still an entertainment program, but the issues have become more political,” says Tietjen.

The show with Olivia Jones addressed diversity in society early on.

Most recently, federal politicians like Hubertus Heil or Franziska Giffey (both SPD) came on the show, but they don't have to fear political cross-examination here.

"We can see that the audience is more and more interested in so-called competence guests because they are thirsty for knowledge," says Tietjen.

And then there are the people who have experienced or achieved something special in their lives.

Like Verena Sam, a seriously cancerous young woman who continues to fight to educate others.

“An admirable woman,” as Tietjen says, and a guest who presented her with a challenge.

Even the experienced presenter finds it difficult to keep emotional distance with such moving stories.

Nevertheless, she would like more such guests.

“The show was and will always be changing,” says Tietjen - and by that doesn't just mean her hairstyle.

“30 years of DAS!” The anniversary broadcast on January 9th, 6.45pm, at 9.45pm “30 years of DAS!” - Documentation by Antje Althoff

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG.

We are happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

Source: Welt am Sonntag

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