If anyone can make fun of Thomas Gottschalk, it’s definitely his old friend Günther Jauch. He then promptly jokes that he doesn’t really believe in his colleague’s final “Wetten, dass…?” farewell. Meanwhile, the countdown to the presumably final edition of the ZDF classic is underway.
Before Thomas Gottschalk’s last “Wetten,dass…?” appearance, presenter Günther Jauch joked about a possible comeback of the showmaster. “Cher, Elton John and Madonna have already announced their resignation several times,” says Jauch. “Mick Jagger is 80 – so I consider myself to be on standby as a driver or guide for Thomas’ ‘Wetten, dass…?’ comeback in 2030.” Thomas Gottschalk would be 80 years old that year.
When the presenter said goodbye to “Wetten,dass…?” in 2011, celebrated, Jauch was one of the guests on the ZDF show. The two entertainers have known and appreciated each other for decades – since they were heard together on Bayerischer Rundfunk radio in the 80s.
Gottschalk came back in 2021 for a “Wetten, dass…?” revival. Originally he was only supposed to host one show, but given the dream rating of 13.8 million viewers, there should be further editions of the show with him once a year. So he lured people in 2022 with “Wetten, dass…?” Once again around 10.1 million people watched television sets.
Gottschalk is “grateful”
The 73-year-old now wants to celebrate his final farewell at the third comeback edition this Saturday in Offenburg. “This time Thomas is probably serious,” Jauch finally admits and pays tribute to his friend: “For more than 40 years he was the measure of all things in German TV entertainment. I wish him a fantastic ‘Wetten, that…?’ -Final.”
Gottschalk himself, on the other hand, looks forward to what will probably be his last moderation of the show. “This time I’m more relaxed than ever, because they can’t throw me out anymore,” says the 73-year-old.
He had already announced in the summer that saying goodbye was not easy for him. But the days of Saturday night entertainment that everyone is talking about on Monday are over. “I’m grateful that I was able to experience it and help shape it,” says Gottschalk. However, before an editor constantly gives him “shitstorm warnings” during the show or explains to him which “celebrity” is sitting next to him, he would rather stop.
From Helene Fischer to Bastian Schweinsteiger
The show on Saturday will once again offer everything that goes with “Wetten, dass…?” heard: crazy bets, stars and a quick-witted presenter. The audience can expect a Gottschalk-typical gag fireworks display, albeit perhaps a little slowed down: “I always fire from the hip, but now I think about it before I say something,” said Gottschalk.
Viewers can once again look forward to plenty of musical entertainment: global star Cher wants to perform a new Christmas song on stage. Helene Fischer and Shirin David sing a new version of “Atemlos” in a duet. The British boy band Take That has also been announced.
The betting sponsors include actors Matthias Schweighöfer and Jan Josef Liefers with colleague Stefanie Stappenbeck. Sports fans should also be happy about the guest list: Bastian Schweinsteiger and his wife Ana Ivanović will be there.
Social media star Lena Mantler is supposed to give insights behind the scenes. Moderator Hazel Brugger wants to be in Switzerland for the outside bet – it should be fast-paced. However, former co-host Michelle Hunziker will not be there this year.
26 percent want to watch
According to a survey by the opinion research institute YouGov, one in four Germans (26 percent) want to watch Gottschalk’s “Wetten, dass…” farewell. However, seven percent of them said they did not want to watch the program live, but rather at a later date in the ZDF media library.
“Bet that..?” has become a symbol of German television entertainment since its launch on February 14, 1981. Initially moderated by the show’s inventor, Frank Elstner, successor Gottschalk took over the helm in September 1987 and left his mark on the format. Almost 21 million people saw his first broadcast, and later 15 million viewers were not uncommon. Guest appearances by Wolfgang Lippert (1992-1993) and presenter Markus Lanz (2012-2014) could not continue the Gottschalk shows.
Gottschalk performed the Saturday evening show more than 150 times. For comparison: Elstner has 39 moderations. There were 9 appearances for Wolfgang Lippert and 14 for Markus Lanz.
Gottschalk particularly impressed the audience with his relaxed manner and because he was fun for everyone. After losing bets, he dipped himself in mustard and even danced on stage as the “Ballet Prince” in Swan Lake.
More than 1000 bets were placed
The cult presenter also showed full physical effort in front of a knife-throwing target, climbed into Lake Constance in unpleasant temperatures in a green “Borat” swimming suit and danced dressed as a woman in a red glittery dress with the then national soccer coach Joachim Löw. Gottschalk was also known for his unusual outfits in leopard or checked patterns.
According to ZDF, one of the most frequent show acts on stage is musician Peter Maffay, who made 17 appearances. Udo Jürgens and Herbert Grönemeyer each made 15 visits – followed by British pop star Robbie Williams in third place, who sat on the famous sofa 10 times.
More than 1,000 bets were placed on the show. The main items used were glasses (10,077), candles (8,432) and eggs (898). According to ZDF, cars played the main role in 69 bets. In 40 bets it was excavators or similar vehicles. Actress Iris Berben had the most frequent appearances as a betting sponsor. She gave a betting tip 10 times.
Like “Bet that…?” ZDF has so far left it open after the end of the Gottschalk era. The decision should be made after the broadcast.