Harald Schmidt

Harald Schmidt

Infobox Celebrity
name = Harald Schmidt

caption = Harald Schmidt
birth_date = Birth date and age|1957|8|18|mf=y
birth_place = Neu-Ulm, Germany
death_date =
death_place =
occupation = talk show host, comedian and television producer
salary =
networth =
spouse =
website = [http://www.haraldschmidt.tv/ ARD] Official Site
footnotes =

Harald Franz Schmidt (born August 18 1957) is a German actor, writer, comedian and television entertainer best known as host of two popular German late-night shows.


Early life

As son of refugees who fled from South Moravia (now Czech Republic) in 1945, Schmidt spent his youth in Swabian Nürtingen, where he went to grammar school. Due to his strict Catholic upbringing he devoted time to the Roman Catholic church, serving as choirmaster and playing the organ.

At the age of 21, Schmidt went to Stuttgart to attend drama school for three years. After that, he gained on-stage experience at Städtische Bühne (Municipal Stage) in Augsburg. His first role was that of the 2nd Mamaluke in Lessing's "Nathan the Wise". In 1984, Harald Schmidt became a text writer for the cabaret "Kom(m)ödchen" in Düsseldorf and in 1986, was honoured as "Best Newcomer cabaret artist" and toured through Germany with his own show.


TV noticed the talented young comedian not before long, and in 1988, Schmidt began to host his first TV show "MAZ ab". This was followed by shows like "Psst!" and "Schmidteinander", yet the biggest boost to his career occurred in 1992, when he started hosting the popular Saturday night show "Verstehen Sie Spaß?" (variation of "Candid Camera"). Schmidt was awarded Germany's most important TV award, "Adolf-Grimme-Preis", which would be followed my many others. Just one year later, he was honoured "Entertainer of the year" and awarded the famous Bambi award and the Golden Camera.

In 1995, Schmidt changed from publicly funded TV station ARD to privately owned channel Sat.1 and started late night talk/variety show "Die Harald Schmidt Show". From June 30, 2003 the show would be broadcast five days a week, including Monday evening. On December 8, 2003, the end of the show was suddenly announced by Schmidt, following a change of management of Sat.1. The last show was aired on December 23, 2003.

"Creative break" and show relaunch

In 2004, Schmidt toured through Germany with a live comedy show, featuring his former late night show sidekick Manuel Andrack. On December 23 of the same year, the new show "Harald Schmidt" began featuring Andrack, back on ARD, where Schmidt began his television career 16 years earlier.

In October 2005, his daughter Amelie was born.

Harald Schmidt resides in Cologne with his partner Ellen Hantsch, a school teacher, and four children, the eldest being from a former relationship. Little is known about the children and their two mothers as Schmidt shields them from the public. In interviews he hardly talks about them.


"Harald Schmidt Show" (Sat.1)

Schmidt is host of the German late night show comparable to "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" or "Late Night with David Letterman", which has now begun a second run after a year-long "creative break". The original show, named "Die Harald Schmidt Show" and shown on German television network Sat.1, featured stand-up comedy as well as famous national and international guests.

"Harald Schmidt" (ARD)

Schmidt began a second run with a new show on publicly funded ARD, this time without "celebrity" interviews and with even more discussion of current events in a rather freely associative manner. As the German entertainer Thomas Gottschalk recently quipped, Schmidt will always attract the student and intellectual crowd, Gottschalk himself will take care of the rest.

On his first show after the break Schmidt appeared with long hair and a fluffy full beard (which looked kind of grey-white-blond-yellowish and reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway and made it to the newspaper headlines the next morning) making fun of his long absence from the public. Although he claimed right on: "I swear, I shaved this morning!". After summer break in 2005 the "celebrity guest" segment was reintroduced.

"Schmidt & Pocher" (ARD)

Late in 2007, Manuel Andrack was replaced by Comedian Oliver Pocher, who has a more active part than his predecessor, and some other elements have changed as well. The broadcast's title was changed to "Schmidt & Pocher", trying to attract a younger audience. Oliver Pocher is considered to be of the "less intellectual" type, a fact that caused some criticism among Harald Schmidt's core audience and broadsheet newspaper comments in Germany.


The self-proclaimed hypochondriac became popular for his cynical jokes, cruel remarks and wry intellectual wit. (Even though he is obsessed with health he was able to lampoon this weak spot in a self ironic TV commercial for a medicine curing colds.) Schmidt models himself after people like Johnny Carson and Conan O'Brien, but adds important factors and qualities to his show that neither of these models has.

He engages in long, seemingly boring conversations with his "supervising producer" Manuel Andrack (in the new show known as "chief dramatic adviser"), who sits at a desk next to Schmidt's, and, like Letterman, also includes his staff into the show, for instance, his band leader Helmut Zerlett and his cue card girl Suzana Novinscak (both omitted in the new show). After a few news shows Schmidt celebrated the return of Frenchwoman Nathalie Licard. Once she was Schmidt's reporter in the old show. These days she sits opposite Manuel Andrack, right in front of the band on a kind of barstool. Sometimes she is involved in the ongoings (like dressing up as Eliza Doolittle in front of the audience, helping Schmidt to conduct some people from the audience who are chosen to form an impromptu choir etc.) sometimes she does and says absolutely nothing during the whole show.


Especially during the first years of "Die Harald Schmidt Show", Schmidt was sometimes criticised for making fun of minorities like foreigners or gays. He also did some Adolf Hitler imitations in his show (in one of these he as Hitler warned young people not to vote for racist and nationalistic parties). His supporters felt that those critics were incapable of understanding satire. Indeed, a steady number of viewers liked the show, many seeing it as a kind of cult television. Yet sometimes the cameras caught sight of people in the audience who were laughing and shaking their heads at the same time, this being a typical reaction to Schmidt's jokes. People feel attracted and disgusted at the same time.

In its later years, the show became a critic's favourite due to Schmidt's "intellectual" sense of humour. For example, he hosted one show completely in French. On another occasion, the screen was blacked for half of the show making it into a "radio broadcast". Another time, he disproved a critic who had written that it is impossible to spend several minutes on TV just cracking nuts.


Awards include three German Television Awards, the viewers choice award Bambi, the Grimme Award, the Golden Camera and the Golden Lion as best showmaster.


External links

* [http://www.schmidt.de/ Die Harald Schmidt Show (old site)]
*imdb name|id=0772969|name=Harald Schmidt
* [http://www.haraldschmidt.tv/ Schmidt's new Show (ARD)]

NAME = Schmidt, Harald Franz
SHORT DESCRIPTION = German talk show host, comedian
DATE OF BIRTH = August 18 1957
PLACE OF BIRTH = Neu-Ulm, Germany

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