The man behind the masks

Daniel Rosemann, Channel Manager, ProSieben

“We all have to be strong now! Welcome to the very, very, very last edition of ‘TV total.’” When Daniel Rosemann sits in the ProSieben team meeting room, a piece of television history hangs behind him: the last announcer’s cue card from the 2,303rd and final “TV total” show. Down in the lower right-hand corner, it bears a little message from the master in black felt-tip pen: “Dear Daniel, Thanks for everything! Best, Stefan.” It’s the cue-card version of a medal of honor from Stefan Raab, the king of German TV. A cue card that speaks volumes: ProSieben chief Daniel Rosemann is the man the stars trust.
There were only eight people altogether who knew the identities of the stars behind the masks. Even the director didn’t know what star he was showing in close-up at any given moment.

Shortly after the end of “TV total,” Daniel the Head of Entertainment became Daniel Rosemann, Channel Manager of ProSieben. And the onetime editor responsible for the first season of “The Voice of Germany” faced a Herculean task: how to replace the person young TV fans were tweeting about as “the Man of ProSieben.”

By the summer of 2019, the Twitterverse had long forgotten the subject. Suddenly everyone was feverishly tweeting: Who’s the cute Monster? Who moves as gracefully as a Grasshopper? And what Astronaut can sing such a heavenly version of “What a Wonderful World”? The finale of “The Masked Singer” set records. Germany had never seen more tweets about a TV show in a single evening. The moment when Max Mutzke took off his Astronaut mask brought as many Germans to the edge of their seats as a penalty shoot-out in the Champions League. With a 54-percent market share (14- to 49-year-olds), the event drew the nation to their screens — all except Daniel Rosemann, who was ensconced in his favorite professional spot: the control room, i.e. the engine room of television.

Together with his ProSieben team, he fought harder for the rights to “The Masked Singer” than anything he or the station had ever pursued before: “We were positive that ‘The Masked Singer” would be a big hit,” Daniel Rosemann says. “But I must admit, we didn’t expect it to be this huge. It fits right in with our strategy, though: we’re expanding the share of programming that we produce in Germany, for Germany.”

54 %
With Raab’s autographed cue card occupying a place of honor in the office, everything goes like clockwork. And a market share of 54 percent at the moment Max Mutzke was unmasked made for plenty of smiling faces.

What was the biggest challenge that came with this show? “Keeping quiet.” Keeping quiet? “Yes. I usually talk to lots of colleagues about the details involved in any show and all the things related to it. I couldn’t really do that in this case.” Why not? “There were only eight people altogether who knew the identities of the stars behind the masks. Even the director didn’t know what star he was showing in close-up at any given moment. That was crucial. When the whole team is guessing too, that’s the best way to tell the story from the viewers’ perspective.

“The Masked Singer” earned Rosemann major kudos in the international arena. ProSieben was the first station in the world to broadcast “The Masked Singer” live. “Big shows deliver a special thrill when they’re live. For the station, sure — and, more importantly, among viewers. There is no substitute for that feeling,” Rosemann says. His eyes light up as he talks about “The Masked Singer.” “In the US, they said we were crazy to do it live.” What he said to his team was, “We’re ProSieben. We have to do it live.”

Note: The day the finale of “The Masked Singer” aired, marked ProSieben’s highest daily ratings in 20 years — thanks to a passionate team. And thanks to Daniel Rosemann, the man behind the masks.