Almost 17 million viewers on ZDF: “The Swarm” is a problem for the entire TV landscape

Almost 17 million viewers on ZDF: “The Swarm” is a problem for the entire TV landscape

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Von: Matthew Kernstock


The film adaptation of the novel “Der Schwarm” by bestselling author Frank Schätzing (65) has had fantastic ratings on ZDF for three days in a row. The eight-part series is causing problems for the German TV landscape.

Mainz – The omens were on record levels when the series “Der Schwarm” was available in the ZDF media library a week before the official broadcast on linear TV.

On the Day of Truth, March 6, 2023, an outstanding 6.82 million people tuned in at 8:15 p.m. when the first two episodes of “Der Schwarm” were shown on ZDF. Day win compared to the other stations. In addition to the excellent ratings, there was also criticism from many viewers of the ZDF series: “Topic missed, put 6”.

After the first three days, in which Frank Schätzing's

After the first three days, in which Frank Schätzing’s “Der Schwarm” was shown in double episodes on ZDF, almost 17 million people tuned in. © pa/Geisler-Fotopress | Christoph Hardt (photomontage)

On day two, ZDF reached “Der Schwarm” (here in the ZDF media library) only 5.37 million people, but was again the winner of the day in the German TV landscape. On Wednesday, March 8, “only” 4.56 million watched Frank Schätzing’s film adaptation of the novel. However, only the Tagesschau was better with 5.34 million viewers. If you add up the first three days on television, almost 17 million people tuned in.

Private broadcasters don’t stand a chance against ZDF and “Der Schwarm”.

The grandiose success of the most expensive German TV series of all time is causing problems for the TV landscape. Not only are the public broadcasters’ own productions at a disadvantage, private competitors such as RTL, Sat.1 or ProSieben don’t stand a chance against “Der Schwarm”.

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Best show from a private TV provider in 8th place on the daily DWDL-Rankings was “RTL Aktuell” with 3.28 million viewers. “Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten” ended up in 11th place, followed only at the bottom of the ranking by Cologne’s private broadcaster “Everything that counts”.

“The Swarm” almost ended up in Hollywood

After the phenomenal success of Frank Schätzing’s novel, the dream factory was also eager to film “The Swarm”. There were already talks with Hollywood in 2006, and at that time none other than Ridley Scott (“Alien”, “Blade Runner”, “Gladiator”) was traded as the director. But this and later projects, such as a film adaptation with acting icon Uma Thurman (“Pulp Fiction”, “Kill Bill”) failed.

With viewer hits such as “Der Bergdoktor” or “Die Giovanni Zarrella Show”, ZDF regularly gets the best ratings. But even these are already being surpassed by the series event “The Swarm”. Sources used:,

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