“As if God Speaks to Us”: The “100,000 Mark Show” Makes a Comeback

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“As if God is speaking to us”
The “100,000 Mark Show” is making a comeback

Out of nostalgia it will be called “100,000 Mark Show” again, but of course there are euros to be won. With the format celebrating its return on RTL on Sunday, the retro trend on television continues. Ulla Kock am Brink will – of course – be the moderator.

There were some authorities in the 90s who were not always admired but respected. Helmut Kohl ruled, the music channel Viva told young people in the country what was cool and hip at the time. All a very long time ago. But a voice that was then heard by millions of people with tense nerves and awaiting their unerring judgment is now in a sense coming back. Her words at the time, presented in a mysteriously dehumanized manner: “The code you entered is…” Pause. “Right.”

Granted, only those with a soft spot for television history will remember all the details of the “100,000 Mark Show.” What is certain is that it was a huge success at the time. After a series of exciting games, the participants entered a combination of numbers into a safe and hoped that a computer voice would open the way to riches. The show returns to RTL on Sunday at 8.15 pm (also on RTL+). Ulla Kock am Brink is moderating again – the now 61-year-old promises that the voice is now “even bolder”: “It now sounds like God himself is speaking to us.” For now, four editions are planned.

The return of the show has less to do with divine intervention than with the retro television trend. In recent months, several formats have been revived, with great success – from “The price is hot” (RTL) to “Go for it!” (Sat.1) to “Wetten, dass…?” (ZDF). The “100,000 Mark Show” really takes you knee-deep in 90s nostalgia. This goes so far that even the Deutschmark – the elderly will remember them – can remain in the title.

“This is not a copy”

The title has also become a brand, says Kock am Brink. “Everyone knows right away: this is not a copy or variation – but the original.” Of course, the payment is made in euros: “It would be stupid if a money courier handed over old Mark coins in a bag.” The equivalent of just over 50,000 euros can be raised.

Kock am Brink ran the show from 1993 to 1998 and reached an audience of millions. The show broke with habits – it was much more action-packed than other game shows and lured with an almost unimaginably high prize pool. In 1998 moderator Franklin – actually Frank Schmidt – took over. In 2000, the show was temporarily discontinued. In 2008 there was a forgotten mini comeback as “The 100,000 Euro Show” with Inka Bause.

Kock am Brink speaks of a “magic” that was no longer there in 2008. In the “100,000 Mark Show” there should be no small games – but large ones, with many variations. At the same time, the new edition is not about topping superlatives. Or as she puts it, “Nobody’s going to staple a donut under their forehead.” But you want to make an offer to young people who saw the show then and are now adults to return to linear television.

Reunion with the “Hot Wire”

Many games from back then are back – like the legendary “Hot Wire”. “The channel has really not cut back on anything. Everything has been done to give this show the shine it deserves,” says the presenter.

In a sense, it’s a return to basics for them too. “The 100,000 Mark Show” put Kock am Brink on the map of top German presenters. She remembers it well – including the reviews of her moderation style. “Cool” was one of the more commonly read attributes. “That was because I’m a woman. A woman shouldn’t build up tension, that’s up to the men – that was the basic tenor,” she says. That is of course nonsense. “I was also completely empathetic to the candidates,” she says. “Then it hit me too, because I’m the opposite of cool, everyone who knows me knows that.”

In 1998, she left because she noticed a certain routine in herself – and because there was another offer. At ProSieben she had to moderate the daily “Ulla Kock am Brink Show”. “I could not have imagined that it would be a total flop,” she says afterwards. So “she threw herself into the abyss full of enthusiasm”. Now she’s jumping into the retro wave.

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