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RTL Deutschland continues management shake-up with Schmitter upped, Tewes out

Changes continue atop German broadcast group RTL Deutschland, where Henning Tewes is leaving his role of chief content officer and Stephan Schmitter will become MD of programming.

Stephan Schmitter

Tewes is leaving RTL Deutschland “on the best of terms,” said the company today, and will take on new management responsibilities within the RTL Group

His departure will see RTL Deutschland merge responsibilities for all programming, including  journalistic content.

Schmitter will become MD of programming at RTL Deutschland, effective immediately. He will oversee all content, including entertainment, journalism, fiction, sports and RTL Studios productions, and all brands of RTL Deutschland.

Schmitter joined RTL Group in May 2004 as MD of the Berlin radio station 105’5 Spreeradio. In January 2018, he became CEO of RTL Radio Deutschland and in May 2019 he additionally took on the role of head of audio of RTL Deutschland (fka Media Group RTL Deutschland).

Henning Tewes

In September 2020, Schmitter also became one of the MDs of the then infoNetwork before becoming the MD of the newly founded RTL News in February 2021. With the merger of RTL Deutschland and publisher Gruner + Jahr, Schmitter took on the role of chief journalistic content officer of RTL Deutschland in January 2022 and has since been responsible for all of the company’s journalistic content as well as the news channel NTV.

RTL Deutschland said today the bundling of content roles is intended to further optimise “the cross-media playout of content across all of the company’s channels and platforms – TV, streaming, radio, print, online and social media,” and to promote the interaction of brands such as RTL, Vox, NTV, Stern and Geo. In this context, RTL Germany’s brand and marketing division will also move into Schmitter’s area of responsibility.

Responsibility for commercial processes in the content area – the purchase of third-party programmes, formats and sports licenses, as well as copyright affairs and music publishing – now lies with MD and chief operating officer Andreas Fischer.

Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group and chairman of the management board of RTL Deutschland, said: “Stephan Schmitter is a great addition to the management team at RTL Deutschland. With his responsibility for all content, we are laying the foundation to further increase our audience share in the German TV market, continue the growth trajectory of the streaming service RTL+ and realise the synergies from the merger with Gruner + Jahr.”

Meanwhile, after eight years, RTLZwei head of programming Tom Zwiessler is looking for a new job. Zwiessler, who has overseen programming at RTLZwei since 2014, will leave the channel at the end of the year.

RTLZwei formats he established include the dating show Love Island and the reality format Hartz & Herzlich. RTLZwei had an October market share of 3.8% among 14- to 49-year-olds. Neither Zwiessler’s successor nor where he is headed next are clear at this point.

Before joining RTLZwei, Zwiessler was MD of Story House Productions and produced documentaries for Arte and ZDF, including the series Terra X and ZDF Zeit. Between 2008 and 2010, as senior VP at ProSiebenSat1 TV Deutschland, he was responsible for all factual programming at ProSieben, Sat1 and Kabel Eins.

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