“Do you understand the fun?” Barbara Schönberger debut: What an embarrassment!

It was a great night for Das Erste. But the beginning of Barbara Schönberger’s “Do You Understand the Fun?” Fail. This may become a problem for the broadcaster.

ARD knows exactly what it’s all about. “You don’t meet many women on entertainment shows,” former broadcaster chief Volker Heeres said in an interview in “Bild” two years ago, causing an uproar. He couldn’t think of a medium who could deliver a “Big Saturday Night Show” that would “inspire such great majorities with sympathy and devotion.”

The program director, who has since been replaced, mentioned only one name at the time: Barbara Schonberger. Germany’s largest radio network: blank. Just a woman in the ARD business fair and collectively compatible? An astonishing general diagnosis and accusation of failure – if true. (Best wishes to Caroline Quebecos!)

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How long will Schönberger take to do that?

Anyway, not much has changed in the past two years. The first still looks old and masculine. Barbara Schönberger replaced Guido Kantz in Do You Understand the Fun? It can now be seen as a first step in the right direction. Because the truth is: There is no transgression for the 48-year-old TV presenter. It’s a sham, a multi-purpose, all-in-one weapon – and there’s hardly a show on German television that hasn’t been run by Schöneberger yet.

Their constant presence across broadcaster boundaries – from the Eurovision Song Contest to the RTL format “because they don’t know what’s going on” – may get on the nerves of some viewers. But there is no denying the skills of a charismatic TV personality with a radiance.

This is what the Munich national said Saturday evening in “Do You Understand the Fun?” proven again. She shines as a sovereign, loyal, mild-mannered host with a quick-witted humor and skillfully led a three-hour live show.

If not for this beginning. He peed hard in his pants. Television viewers on the living-room televisions, who had received the linear program from ARD, watched Schöneberger – but heard nothing for about five minutes. It wasn’t much better in the broadcaster’s live broadcast. Viewers there at least got a taste of the opening song, “This Is the Greatest Show.” But when Barbara Schonberger then wanted to greet the audience, silence also prevailed in the media library.

Hidden camera is not the trump card

What an embarrassment. Finally, ARD had its only major presenter seemingly in the program and messed with it. Whoever is responsible for the misery: Schöneberger’s beginnings couldn’t be worse. No apology also helped. “We are very sorry for this technical error,” a spokeswoman for T-Online said. But: to live is to live.

“Do you understand the fun?” It consists largely of previously produced feature films. She’s the fun factor in the comedy show, but she’s not the trump card. Because there are pranks and glitches in countless YouTube channels these days. When Swiss television producer Kurt Felix invented the concept of the hidden camera in the 1980s, it was still revolutionary. But in 2022, the ARD show should sparkle with live moments. With moderation, the singing and conversations of distinguished guests stop in the studio.

Schönberger can do all of that. But when the public service broadcast slows down, as it was on Saturday at the start of “Do You Understand the Fun?” It becomes uncomfortable for everyone involved. Even Barbara Schönberger, who is always cheerful and in a good mood, at some point no longer understood the fun. I meticulously prepared for this show, rehearsed its opening for weeks – and then made ARD look stale in front of an audience of millions.

Mistakes happen no matter how bitter. But the first thing to be warned: if only one woman, according to the channel’s self-limiting logic, is fit for the Saturday Night Show, you shouldn’t mess with her. Otherwise it will disappear faster than ARD can fix the sound problem.

ZDF has sufficiently proven how well it manages large production operations. “I bet that…?” Sends regards. Maybe soon with Barbara Schonberger.

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