Header (show)

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Television series
Original title Header
Country of production Germany
original language German
Year (s) 1989-2015
West German Broadcasting Cologne
length 30 minutes
(only on Sundays at 11:00 a.m., then 10:25 a.m. and again at 11:00 a.m.; Saturdays, 11:30 a.m.)
genre Information broadcast
First broadcast September 24, 1989 on Das Erste

Kopfball was a weekly knowledge format that was most recently produced by the science department of WDR television in cooperation with the Cologne-based production company VisualBridges. Since 2010, five reporters ( Ulrike Brandt-Bohne , Isabel Hecker , Adrian Pflug , Steffi Terhörst and Burkhardt Weiß ) have been answering questions that viewers ask using the contact form on the Kopfball website or by post, fax, e-mail or as Could send in video. The questions came from all areas of science, technology and nature.

The program ran on the first ( ARD ).


The show "Kopfball" has been on the WDR since September 24, 1989. At that time viewers could call the show live and answer the demanding questions of the two moderators Evi Seibert (1990-2003) and Helge Haas (1990-2006 ), which were devised by the editorial team ) and Ines Jacob (1990–2003) and Ranga Yogeshwar (1990–1999). Karsten Schwanke (1999-2003) later took over from Ranga Yogeshwar. The winner was the "header" - a plasma ball . In the first two years (1989–1990) Martina Eßer , Sven Kuntze and Cherno Jobatey also moderated the program.

The header concept was changed on October 5, 2003: two pairs of candidates answered the questions posed by the moderator Helge Haas . The theme music at the time was an excerpt from the ballet Romeo and Juliet by Sergei Prokofjew .

Since April 9, 2006, the header appeared again in a different format. The title music was replaced by one composed by Jörg Schnabel, which was replaced at the end of 2007 by one composed by Uli Beck for headers.

On June 30, 2014, the director of the WDR, Tom Buhrow, announced that the program would be discontinued during 2015 for cost reasons. The last broadcast was broadcast on July 11, 2015. The header episodes were repeated on the digital channels of ARD until One started broadcasting . The website headball.de accompanying the broadcast was deleted in June 2017. The episodes and contributions are still available in the ARD media library.

Basic idea

Since the redesign in April 2006, the questions sent in by viewers have been the sole basis of the program. After the viewers were no longer asked to quiz as early as 2003 to find answers to common everyday phenomena, because this task was taken over by the studio candidates, up to six header reporters now clarify the audience's queries. Kopfball is no longer a quiz program with the chance to win, but researches scientific questions from viewers and answers them in a wide variety of ways. The program ranges from street surveys to studio experiments to pre-produced clips and expert surveys. For reasons of transparency and the comprehensibility of the solution approach, the moderators themselves often appear as "ignorant". You perform a substitute function for the viewer: you ask their questions to an expert. He then leads the experiment and explains its course to the moderator.


The “moderators” of the original format were replaced in 2006 by “reporters”, initially Klas Bömecke , Ulrike Brandt-Bohne , Isabel Hecker and Burkhardt Weiß . In 2008, Steffi Terhörst was added and Klas Bömecke left. Adrian Pflug was there from 2010 .

Worth knowing about the broadcast

  • The name headball is a play on words that is reminiscent of the headball in sports and at the same time suggests the use of the head. In 1979/80 it was already in use for another format that dealt with general everyday issues as a co-production by the broadcasters NDR , RB and SFB .
  • Ranga Yogeshwar helped develop the original format of the show.
  • Kopfball's website offered a large archive of experiments and films. Since October 2003 you have been able to watch the films on the show as a stream on the Internet at any time. From April 2006, the 52 current programs could also be downloaded as podcasts .
  • The new concept from 2006 also included a new color concept. The serious, worn green-blue of the program was replaced by the two basic colors red and white, which, according to the WDR, should create references to barrier tapes at construction sites and warning signals and underline the action character of the program.
  • Since the realignment, Kopfball's studio part has now been produced in an old building in Cologne-Porz in an old building in Cologne-Porz after brief interludes in the technology center of the WDR studio site in Bocklemünd and in a good 200 m² old electrical workshop on the site of the Goldenberg power plant in Hürth-Knapsack.
  • For the casting of the roles of the header reporter, the WDR carried out a casting with almost 100 applicants. Although the editorial team deliberately wanted to give newcomers a chance, in addition to television newcomers Ulrike Brandt-Bohne, Isabel Hecker and Steffi Terhörst, two candidates who had television experience prevailed. Before his time, Klas Bömecke was at Kopfball u. a. active as an external reporter for Galileo . And Burkhardt Weiß was known to the Cologne audience as the moderator ("Konsolero") of the anarchic youth magazine Konsol on the Cologne local broadcaster center.tv.

Spin-offs and sister programs

In addition to the Sunday header, a 45-minute spin-off was installed in the summer of 2007 under the title Header extreme . It is a kind of making-of of the most complex experiments in the weekly format. Can you water-ski behind a cruise ship? ' Alone in the desert , on the go with crash test dummies and hard on the wind were the topics that offered viewers a glimpse behind the scenes of the header production in summer 2007. The programs were moderated by head-ball reporter Klas Bömecke . He was supported by Dirk Gion , who pulled the strings behind the scenes for all of the stunts from headball. Since 2008 these consequences have been called experiments at the limit .

For some years now, headers with school-related content have also been used for school television . Under the title "Headball at Planet School" three episodes of one hour each with a total of 20 topics from physics, chemistry and technology have been created. They are available online. The program with the title “Physics all around the car” was also broadcast on SWR on August 28, 2010, the other two with the titles “Explosion hazard - alcohol and driving a car” and “From crude oil to gasoline - radiation - cold and warm - ancient bridge construction “Were broadcast for the first time on June 28 and 29, 2012 on WDR.

Ten to fifteen times a year there was also the chance to experience headers live. Under the title "Headball on Tour - The Experiment Show", two of the moderators appeared at events such as the Long Night of Science or other cultural events with a live scientific program throughout the year .

From the editorial point of view, Kopfball obviously had close ties with the sister magazines Quarks & Co , W for Wissen and nano , which was sometimes evident in joint contributions, guest moderation or the timely repetition of headers in the other programs.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. WDR cuts 500 jobs - also for Saturday "local time" , accessed on November 18, 2019.
  2. "The Headball Philosophy" on wdr.de ( Memento from May 21, 2017 in the Internet Archive ).
  3. “Headball” from NDR / RB / SFB on wunschliste.de , page accessed on November 18, 2019.
  4. "Series: Headers at Planet-Schule" on planet-schule.de , accessed on November 18, 2019.