Super RTL

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Super RTL
Super RTL logo 2013.svg
Launched April 28, 1995
Owned by RTL Disney Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG
(RTL Group (50%)
The Walt Disney Company (50%))
Picture format 4:3, 16:9
Audience share 1,9 % (2013, [2])
Slogan Schön dich zu sehen (Nice to see you); Weil's Spaß macht (Because it's fun)
Country Germany
Broadcast area National
Also distributed in:
Headquarters Cologne, Germany
Website Website
Astra different
Cablecom, Kabel Deutschland, Kabel BW, Unity Media different
NOS (Portugal) 49

Super RTL is a Cologne-based German television network operated by RTL Disney Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG. It was the first German television channel aimed mostly at children. Formerly a combination of RTL Television and The Disney Channel, it was launched in 1995 as a joint venture between RTL Group predecessor company Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion (formally the Luxembourg Broadcasting Company (Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Radiodiffusion), which was a member of European Broadcasting Union respectively), and The Walt Disney Company.

During the daytime and early evening until 8:15 pm, there are only shows for children on Super RTL, including many American series. Super RTL used to air a large number of Nickelodeon shows as well during the time that rights owner Viacom did not operate their own children's channel in Germany (1998–2005), but this supply dried up with the re-introduction of Nickelodeon to Germany in 2005.

In prime time, Super RTL mostly repurposes older RTL Television series or airs family-branded, inexpensive entertainment shows.


Super RTL traces back to both the Disney Channel in the United States and RTL Television in Germany.

Disney Channel[edit]

In early 1977, Walt Disney Productions executive Jim Jimirro brought forth the idea of a cable television network that would feature television and film material from the studio.[3] Since the company was focusing on the development of the Epcot Center at Walt Disney World, Disney chairman Card Walker turned down the proposal.[4][5] Disney revived the idea in 1982, entering into a partnership with the satellite unit of Group W (which had sold its 50% ownership stake in one of The Disney Channel's early rivals, Showtime, to Viacom around the same time); however, Group W would ultimately drop out of the intended joint venture that September, due to disagreements over the channel's creative control and financial obligations that would have required Group W to pay a 50% share of the channel's start-up costs.[5]

Despite losing Group W as a partner, The Disney Channel continued on with its development – now solely under the oversight of Walt Disney Productions, and under the leadership of the channel's first president Alan Wagner;[6] Walt Disney Productions formally announced the launch of its family-oriented cable channel in early 1983. Disney later invested US$11 million to acquiring space on two transponders of the Hughes Communications satellite Galaxy 1, and spent US$20 million on purchasing and developing programming.[5] The concept of a premium service aimed at a family audience – which Walt Disney Productions would choose to develop The Disney Channel as – had first been attempted by HBO, which launched Take 2 in 1979 (the service, which was HBO's first attempt at a spin-off niche service (predating Cinemax's launch in August 1980), would shut down after only a few months on the air), and was followed by the 1981 launch of the Group W-owned Home Theater Network (which was the only premium channel that strictly competed with The Disney Channel for that demographic for much of the 1980s, until the 1987 launch of Festival).

Launch and early years as a premium channel (1983–90)[edit]

The Disney Channel launched nationally as a premium channel on April 18, 1983 at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time.[7] The first program ever aired on the channel was also its first original series, Good Morning, Mickey!, which showcased classic Disney animated shorts.[8] At the time of its launch, The Disney Channel's programming aired for 16 hours each day,[6] from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time[7] (comparatively, its competitors HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, The Movie Channel and Spotlight all had been operating on 24-hour programming schedules for a few years at the time). By the fall of 1983, the channel was available to more than 532,000 subscribers in the United States;[9] this total would increase to 611,000 subscribers in December of that year.[10]

Programming during the channel's run as a premium service – carrying through to its transition to a basic cable channel – had targeted children and teenagers during the morning and afternoon, families during primetime and adults at night. The Disney Channel differed from other premium services in that it not only acquired broadcast rights to theatrical feature films, but, in addition to producing its own original programs, the channel aired several television series that were acquired through corporate sister Buena Vista Television and other program distributors. In its first years, The Disney Channel's programming included original series such as Welcome to Pooh Corner and You and Me Kid, along with several foreign-imported animated series and movies including Asterix, The Raccoons, Paddington Bear and the Australian western Five Mile Creek; in addition to movies, the original late night schedule also featured reruns of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

The channel's daytime schedule during its existence as a pay service was populated primarily by series aimed at children (as opposed to the movie-driven daytime lineups of other premium services), interspersed with a limited number of movies – usually a single daytime feature on weekdays, and two or three films on weekends, along with occasional live-action and animated specials for children. The nighttime schedule featured a mix of theatrical, made-for-cable and straight-to-video films (recent and older family-oriented movies were shown in the early evenings, while classic films – mainly releases from the 1930s to the 1960s – usually ran during the late evening and overnight hours) and original specials (primarily in the form of concerts, variety specials and documentaries). D-TV, a short segment featuring popular music interwoven with scenes from Disney's animated shorts and feature films, also periodically aired as filler between shows. Unlike other premium services, The Disney Channel opted not to disclose a film's Motion Picture Association of America-assigned rating prior to the start of the feature (the only bumpers appearing at the start of programs indicated closed captioned programs, as well as on rare occasions, parental advisories for feature films).

The channel's primary logo (which was used until 1997) featured multiple lines resembling a television screen that featured a negative space silhouette of Mickey Mouse's head; IDs shown before programs between 1986 and 1997 generally involved Mickey – whose arms are only shown – being involved in various situations (such as him having a nightmare in which the "Mickey Mouse TV" logo chases and then engulfs one of his gloves, Mickey wiping a foggy window or Mickey making shadow figures on a flashlight-lit wall) that featured the logo being formed or displayed in various ways. For its subscribers, the channel provided a monthly (and later bi-monthly) program guide/magazine called The Disney Channel Magazine, which in addition to carrying listings for the channel's programming, had also carried feature stories on upcoming programs (the magazine also lent its name to a series of interstitials seen during promotional breaks on the channel that provided behind-the-scenes looks at The Disney Channel's programming);[7] The Disney Channel Magazine ceased publication in early 1997 and was replaced by Behind the Ears (a print magazine which also shared its name with another series of behind-the-scenes interstitials that aired on the channel from 1997 to 2000) as the channel began primarily operating as a commercial-free basic channel.[11]

Besides The Disney Channel Magazine and DTV, interstitial segments that padded out extended promotional breaks between programs (usually those seen within its nighttime schedule) during this period included A Disney Moment (featuring clips from Disney feature films and animated shorts); Backstage Pass (behind-the-scenes segments profiling upcoming Disney film and television projects); Dateline Disney (a generalized segment focusing on Disney's various filmed and themed entertainment projects; Dateline Walt Disney World and Dateline Disneyland were offshoots that aired from the late 1980s to mid-1990s which focused on attractions at the Disney theme parks); Walt Disney Imagineering (focusing on Disney projects from animation to attractions at the Disney theme parks); and Discover Magazine (an informative science and technology segment that was produced in conjunction with the magazine of the same name).

As a premium channel, The Disney Channel often ran free previews of five days to one week in length four times annually, as well as two periodic weekend-only previews (with ads targeted to cable and satellite customers who were not subscribers to the channel); this resulted in The Disney Channel offering more preview events each calendar year during its tenure as a pay service than HBO, Cinemax and Showtime had run during that timeframe. In April 1984, the channel extended its daily programming to 18 hours (from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time), with the addition of two hours onto its late night schedule.[12] On December 1, 1986, The Disney Channel began broadcasting 24 hours a day.[13]

By September 1983, The Disney Channel was available on cable providers in all 50 U.S. states. In October 1983, the channel debuted its first made-for-cable movie, Tiger Town, which earned the channel a CableACE Award.[10] The first classic Disney animated film to be broadcast on the channel, Alice in Wonderland, premiered on the network in January 1984. By January 1985, the channel's programming reached 1.75 million subscribers, at which time the channel had reached profitability.

Early in 1986, the musical sitcom Kids Incorporated premiered on the channel; the series was centered around a pre-teen (and later teen-to-young adult) group of friends who formed a pop music group, mixing their everyday situations with variety show and music video-style performances. Incorporating popular and recent songs that were performed by the cast (some of which had certain lyrics toned down to be more age-appropriate), it became a hit for The Disney Channel, spawning many future stars in both the music and acting worlds during its nine-year run, including Martika (who went by her real name, Marta Marrero, during the show's first season); eventual Party of Five co-stars Scott Wolf and Jennifer Love Hewitt (billed as Love Hewitt); and Stacy Ferguson (later a member of The Black Eyed Peas as well as a solo artist, under the stage name "Fergie").

In May 1988, The Disney Channel began scrambling its signal to prevent unauthorized viewing by home satellite dish users that did not subscribe to the service. That August, the channel debuted a series of concert specials, titled Going Home, with the first such special featuring Ashford & Simpson.[10] That same year, Good Morning, Miss Bliss, a starring vehicle for Hayley Mills (of Polyanna and The Parent Trap fame), made its debut. Following its cancellation by The Disney Channel after 13 episodes due to low ratings, the series was picked up by NBC in 1989, and retooled as Saved by the Bell, with Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dustin Diamond, Lark Voorhies and Dennis Haskins being the only cast members from Miss Bliss that were carried over to the new show; the retooled series became a hit as part of NBC's Saturday morning lineup (producing two spinoffs in the process) and through worldwide syndication.

In April 1989, the channel revived one of Disney's early television staples with The All-New Mickey Mouse Club (later known as simply MMC);[10] it became an immediate hit that proved Disney's basic variety show formula still worked in the modern era (unlike the short-lived 1970s revival). This version contained many elements featured in the original series from "theme days" to updated mouseketeer jackets, but the scripted and musical segments were more contemporary (featuring a broad mix of pop, rock and R&B artists in music performances, as well as sketches and serials such as Emerald Cove and Teen Angel). MMC served as the launching pad for several future stars such as Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake.

In August 1989, the channel launched a series of interstitial segments called The Disney Channel Salutes The American Teacher; the channel subsequently began telecasting the American Teacher Awards in November 1991.[10] By January 1990, The Disney Channel had about five million subscribers nationwide. In May of that year, The Disney Channel won its first Daytime Emmy Awards for the original made-for-cable film Looking for Miracles, the documentary Calgary '88: 16 Days of Glory and the special A Conversation with... George Burns, as well as its first Peabody Award for the television film Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme.[10]

As a hybrid premium/basic channel (1990–97)[edit]

On September 1, 1990, TCI's Montgomery, Alabama system became the first cable provider to carry the channel as a basic cable service.[10] In 1991, eight additional cable providers volunteered to move the channel to their expanded basic cable tiers, with the first to make the transition (as a test run) being Jones Intercable's systems in Fort Myers and Broward County, Florida.[14][15] Other cable providers eventually began moving the channel to their basic tiers, either experimentally or on a full-time basis.[15] Even as major providers such as Cox Communications and Marcus Cable began offering The Disney Channel on their basic tiers, executives for The Walt Disney Company denied that the channel had plans to convert into an ad-supported basic service, stating that the move from premium to basic cable on some systems was part of a five-year "hybrid" strategy that allowed providers to offer the channel in either form.[16]

In 1991, The Disney Channel tested a two-channel multiplex service on two cable systems[17] (HBO, Cinemax[18] and Showtime also launched their own multiplex services that same year, however The Disney Channel would not make its own multiplex service permanent unlike the others). By 1992, a third of the channel's subscriber base were estimated by Nielsen Media Research to be adults that did not have children;[19] and by 1995, its subscriber base expanded to 15 million cable homes,[20] eight million of which paid an additional monthly fee to receive the channel.[21]

In March 1992, the channel debuted the original children's program Adventures in Wonderland, a contemporary live-action adaption of Alice in Wonderland (which, in turn, was based on the novel Alice Through the Looking Glass). In September 1992, the channel began carrying the Disney's Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra series of specials, which aired annually until 1998. In honor of its 10th anniversary, the channel embarked on a 14-city nationwide bus tour starting in April 1993.[10] By January 1995, The Disney Channel was available to 12.6 million subscribers; the period from 1994 to 1995 saw the largest yearly subscriber increase with 4.87 million households with cable television adding the channel. In March 1995, the first international Disney Channel service was launched in Taiwan. That year, the documentary Anne Frank Remembered premiered on the channel; that film would earn an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1996.[10]

RTL Television[edit]

RTL, on the other hand, started broadcasting on 2 January 1984 at 17:27 from VHF channel E7 (system B, colour PAL) in Luxembourg. It only had a theoretical audience of approximately 200,000 until 1988, when it moved its headquarters to Cologne, Germany; prior to this it was considered a Luxembourg-based station.

RTL, which began as a spin-off of the German version of Radio Luxembourg, started with a low budget, and many of the early hosts simply presented versions of their radio formats adapted for television. One early success was the quiz show "Ein Tag wie kein anderer" (A Day Like No Other), in which candidates were competing for a holiday.

RTL plus was famous in its early years for showing low-budget films and American programmes. It was the number 2 commercial broadcaster.[clarification needed]

All that changed when RTL moved to Cologne and, in return, received the right to broadcast on terrestrial frequencies. That same year, RTL acquired the first-run rights to the prestigious Fußball-Bundesliga. Deals with Cannon,[clarification needed] which at the time was successful with films like Highlander and, one year later, with Universal Studios, finally provided more high profile films for the channel.

Super RTL[edit]

In 1995, Super RTL finally launched with Winnie the Pooh as its first program. Super RTL was the first German television channel to be aimed mostly at children.

Disney Channel in Germany[edit]

With the announcement of Disney Channel (Germany) and future loss of Disney programming, Super RTL signed volume deals with Warner Bros. International Television and Sony Pictures Television for a slate of animated features and DreamWorks Animation for 1,200 hours of programming until 2020. The channel also acquired programming to expand its views in the evenings with more adult TV shows to debut in its fall 2014 schedule: ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, ABC's Once Upon a Time and Scandal and Syfy's Lost Girl supernatural series. As of January 1, 2014, Disney programming left the channel, because the broadcast version of Disney Channel (Germany) launched on January 17. However, Disney will continue holding its stake in the station.[1]

Programs for children[edit]

Toggo is the name of a block for children on Super RTL, and shows for teenagers in the early-evening. For example the following series are shown:

Disney programs (Formerly in the program):

DreamWorks programs

Other programs

TOGGO TV[edit]

TOGGO TV is an original production of Super RTL. The motto is: “You can switch me on!” ("Ihr könnt mich mal...EINSCHALTEN!"). In every show there are famous German singers and bands and at the end of every season a so-called “TOGGO Star” is elected, a child, who has done or can do something special. The show is presented by Nina Moghaddam, Paddy Kroetz and Haselhörnchen (a puppet which looks like a squirrel).

The TOGGO-camp[edit]

The camp is organised by the German teenage journey operator Ruf. There are several camps in Germany, for example, in the Schwarzwald and on the island Rügen. It is a holiday camp for children between 8 and 13.

Evening programs[edit]

In the evening Super RTL mostly shows programs which were on RTL before. These are shows, comedy, thrillers, series and international films and cartoons, but no Blockbusters.



Self-produced programms

  • Upps! - Die Pannenshow (funny home-videos, Similar to AFV except with no audience)

Late-night programs[edit]

At night (Monday to Friday from 3am to 6am and Saturday and Sunday from 2am to 6am) Super RTL shows "Fun-Night", an interactive show, where people can send SMS-greetings or control a computer game. During this time in Austria a log fire is broadcast, which appeared on the channel in Germany until 1995.


  1. ^ a b Roxborough, Scott (October 8, 2013). "MIPCOM: With 'Scandal' and 'Scooby-Doo' Germany's Super RTL Takes on Disney Channel". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Share" (in German). Kommission zur Ermittlung der Konzentration im Medienbereich. 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ Flower 1991, p. 87.
  4. ^ Grover 1991, p. 15.
  5. ^ a b c Grover 1991, p. 147.
  6. ^ a b Hevesi, Dennis (December 22, 2007). "Alan Wagner, 76, First President of the Disney Channel, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved October 26, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c Scott, Vernon (April 19, 1983). "Disney invades cable TV". TimesDaily 114 (109). United Press International (UPI). p. 8. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  8. ^ Fanning, Win (April 5, 1983). "Mickey to star on Disney Channel". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 56 (212). p. 31. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  9. ^ Grover 1991, p. 148.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "A Salute to Disney Channel: Disney Channel time line". April 1, 1998. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  11. ^ Gutman, Steve. "Letter from the Publisher". The Disney Channel Magazine, Vol. 14, no. 6, December 1996/January 1997: p. 4.
  12. ^ The Disney Channel Magazine, April 1984.
  13. ^ The Disney Channel Magazine, December 1986.
  14. ^ Jones to offer Disney on basic tier in Fla., Multichannel News (via HighBeam Research), February 25, 1991.
  15. ^ a b More systems trying Disney on expanded basic, Multichannel News (via HighBeam Research), September 30, 1991.
  16. ^ Marcus moves Disney; Marcus Cable makes The Disney Channel part of its basic service; analysts wonder if Disney is planning major changes, Broadcasting & Cable (via HighBeam Research), May 27, 1996.
  17. ^ Disney Channel plans two-feed multiplex test, Multichannel News (via HighBeam Research), June 10, 1991.
  18. ^ The Media Business; HBO Planning to Add New Movie Channels, The New York Times, May 9, 1991. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
  19. ^ Disney audience grows up, Multichannel News (via HighBeam Research), April 27, 1992.
  20. ^ The Disney Channel achieves milestone in cable television industry with 15 million subscribers, Business Wire (via HighBeam Research), November 13, 1995.
  21. ^ Bryant, J. Alison (November 7, 2006). The Children's Television Community. Lawrence Erlbaum. p. 149. ISBN 0-8058-4996-3. 

External links[edit]