The german entertainment show "Wetten Dass..?" has been all over the news recently due to a severe accident of one of the contestants.
I'd like to voice my opinion on the issue and shed some light on the show in general for those not familiar with it.
About the show...
When I grew up, "Wetten dass...?" was huge with my parents and grandparents so I saw almost every installment there is.
Originally, the concept was as such: five celebrities were invited and each of them got assigned a "bet". The translation of the title literally means "Bet that..." and the better words would be "Bet 'ya...".
The bets were more or less interesting or entertaining stunts that people went out to do against time or other odds. A well beloved example would be a team that would put a minivan/small truck on four beer glasses without breaking them.
The celebrities learned about their indivitual bet on the show, as it was their "turn". They then all had to "bet" if the contestant could do it or couldn't do it. The celebrity who's bet it was HAD to say "yes" because they were the patron of that bet. They also had to bet something interesting in case they lost. The four others just bet for points in their rounds.
At the end one of the celebrities would end up with the most won bets (points) and would make their contestant the "Wettkönig" (=King of bets) for that evening, resulting in price money.
In between the five rounds lots of big and also international musicians would perform their new songs.
The celebrities had no problem with offering ridiculous bets and of course the next show would show vidoe of them doing whatever it was they had to do because they lost. We saw Peter Ustinov selling hot dogs to the crowds for instance. You could see that they bet stuff they wouldn't WANT to do but were still somehow prepared to put up with. True harmless bets.
A bit later the concept was changed a bit so that viewers could call in and vote on their favorite bet to make it's contestant the king of bets.
Cut forward a few years and come along a new MC - still the current one - who fiddled around with the concept:
First, (I think) because celebrities began to charge big bucks to sit there on stage typically only one celebrity is on stage with the MC at any given time. No more funny discussions and retorts.
Then the MC somewhat caved in and more and more celebrities began to bet stuff that they WANTED to do anyway... collect for charity, paint a picture to sell for charity... I'm all WTF? Where's the bet in that?
It came worse... last time I watched it, most of them DID whatever it was anyway, even if they won! ARGH!
Of course with time and more and more stunts already been done the new ones weren't innovative anymore... The only newer one I remember was a guy who mounted a bottle opener to an RC chopper and opened several bottles within a minute. That's what I consider a challange and worthy a bet. Other things were more sport records and thus more on the boring side. And because sometimes the most boring parts were done by children who even lost their bet they won the popular vote becasue "oh they are so sad and did sooo well".
Bottom line: the show now is only a shadow of what it used to be, it STILL runs late as far as I know and pushes all the other programs back by at least half an hour (I wonder why they don't PLAN it half an hour longer)
About the stunt
It was just that... an accident. Because the stunts get weirder all the time, in order to have a remote chance of being accepted by the producers a submission has to be EXTREME!
And the people aren't allowed to be professionals - because then it wouldn't be interesting at all. Something going wrong was bound to happen sooner or later.
Sorry for the injured person, nobody wanted it to happen, much less to you... but what I absolutely DON'T get is the media attention this receives. Nobody wrote a word about that show for the last what... almost ten years? And now it makes headlines again. And there's a severe lack of information about the condition or injuries the contestant has sustained. Hmmm... If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd have one right here.
That show has jumped the shark a loooong time ago and it still has the best ratings of all "made in Germany" shows... makes you think about German TV, doesn't it? And I now wonder if anybody ever HAS jumped a shark as a bet on that show. It would be a fitting end for it.
Anyhow, these are my thoughts on the subject. Sorry to bore you with it but it seemed an interesting and different kind of topic for once.