'Deutschland 83' Renewed for Season 2

Deutschland 83, the most-hyped German TV series since, well, forever, has gotten a second-season order.

Wolf Bauer, head of Deutschland 83 producer UFA, said a second season of the show, to be called Deutschland 86, has been greenlit. The series — a Cold War thriller focused on a Stasi spy who infiltrates the West German military —premiered on Sundance TV this summer and has been a critical hit.

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Bauer's announcement, however, could also be seen as a bit of damage control, coming just after Deutschland 83 premiered in Germany on commercial network RTL. The show's overnight ratings were decent, but not outstanding. Deutschland 83 drew 3.19 million viewers on RTL, a 9.9 percent overall market share.

Among the key 14-49 demographic, the show's pilot grabbed a 15.7 percent share. That's a decent performance for RTL, slightly above the network's average, but hardly a blow-out success. In comparison, competitor Pro7 took the top spot with singing show The Voice of Germany, which drew a 16 percent share head-to-head with Deutschland 83.

This comes after a blanket marketing effort by RTL, which has plastered the country's bus stops and train stations with Deutschland 83 posters and billboards. Media coverage has been all-encompassing. German critics have been falling over themselves to anoint Deutschland 83 as the ... best ... German ... series ... ever.

Against that backdrop, the overnight figures look less impressive.

RTL aired the first two episodes of Deutschland 83 back-to-back. Episode two lost a bit of its lead-in audience, holding on to 2.86 million viewers, and netting 14.1 percent in the 14-49 year-old demo.

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But Deutschland 83's international success — the show has sold wide, including to Hulu, Channel 4 in the U.K. and across Europe — make domestic ratings less important. Bauer says UFA and its partners will bankroll the second season.

Husband and wife creative team Anna and Jorg Winger are currently developing Deutschland 86. The series picks up with its hero, Martin Rauch (Jonas Nay) who returns to Germany after years abroad. In an interview with German trade magazine Blickpunkt Film, Jorg Winger said around “half the cast” of the first season will return for Deutschland 86.

If the second season goes well, UFA and the creators plan to finish the series with Deutschland 89, which would take the action up to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.