There is money all over the floor. A TV set in the back of the stage is showing soft porn. More than half of the screen is occupied by flashy graphics promising up to 50.000 Euro, blinking countdowns, phone numbers and a word puzzle that a four-year-old could solve in a minute. And then there is the host of the show. Screaming at the camera, swearing, running around on stage like crazy. Mocking someone who called earlier, literally giving away the answer of the puzzle. Still, no one seems to call.

Tune into German cable TV these days, and you’re likely to find multiple stations with shows like these at any time of the day. Call-in game shows have become big business for the German cable TV industry. Viewers are charged 49 Euro-Cents (about $0.65 U.S.) per call. Some of the more successful networks generate hundreds of millions of calls each year. Proponents claim this is the future of interactive television. Critics call it the biggest fraud in TV’s history. Continue reading at

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