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The ZDF - Hitparade, or Hitparade for short, was one of the most popular and most well-known music television series by German TV channel ZDF. It was developed by Truck Branss and Dieter Thomas Heck and first broadcast on January 18, 1969. 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 the show once a month on Saturday at half past seven. In the show various performers sang their current songs. The performers predominantly came from the range of German Schlager.

Subsequent hosts of the Hitparade were Viktor Worms (1985–1990) and Uwe Hübner (1990–2000). The last episode aired on December 16, 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...
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