The ZDF-Hitparade, or Hitparade for short, by German TV channel ZDF, was one of the most popular and most well-known music television series presenting mostly German Schlager. From 1969 to 1984 the presenter was Dieter Thomas Heck. The last show was aired on 16 December 2000.

Presented byDieter Thomas Heck (1969–1984)
Viktor Worms (1985–1990)
Uwe Hübner (1990–2000)
Country of originGermany
Original language(s)German
Original networkZDF
Picture format4:3
Original release1969 (1969) –
2000 (2000)


The music show was developed by Truck Branss and Dieter Thomas Heck and first broadcast on January 18, 1969.[1][2] The original theme song was written in 1968 by James Last and remained a hallmark of the show until the last show of host Dieter Thomas Heck on December 15, 1984.

The first host was Dieter Thomas Heck, who presented once a month on Saturday at half past seven. Various performers sang their current songs, predominantly Schlager. Whereas the first show was produced in the studio, subsequent events were live.[1] The next host of the Hitparade was Viktor Worms in 1985, succeeded by Uwe Hübner in 1990. The last episode aired on 16 December 2000.


When the show was conceived by Dieter Thomas Heck, he established some innovations to the Schlager genre, which already had adapted a somewhat conservative reputation compared to the current musical trends of the time. Among those innovations was the rule that each singer had to present his or her song live (to music from half-playback). Earlier musical TV-shows had already switched to full-playback. Also, with the exception of the pilot, each episode was live, which also was unusual. Another innovation of Hitparade was the stage design. All earlier musical shows in German television had a somewhat theatre-like design which created a huge distance between singer and audience. Also, their stage design was quite opulent with heavy decorations and curtains. Singing at the Hitparade in contrast meant that the audience sat all around the singer while the stage design was a modern latticework of chrome and steel.

The most important innovation introduced by Dieter Thomas Heck was that the audience members had the chance to assert influence in the choice of musical artists. The viewers could select their favorite acts by postcard, which were then allowed to return in the subsequent broadcast. One artist got the chance to come back on subsequent shows with one song, twice.



  1. ^ a b Isert, Jörg (28 December 2007). "Der Dieter, der Thomas, der Heck" (in German). Der Stern. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  2. ^ "Dieter Thomas Heck". filmportal.de. Retrieved 7 March 2012.

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