RTL’s Head of Fiction Departs as Linear & Streaming Divisions Combine


RTL’s head of fiction, Philipp Steffens, is exiting the role, as the group combines the scripted teams for its linear TV channels and its streaming platform TVNOW.

Steffens, who has led RTL fiction since 2014, is returning to production. During his time at RTL, Steffens was responsible for commissioning the International Emmy Award-winning Deutschland 83 and for commissioning The Teacher, which is currently in its eighth season.

As part of the reorganization of its programming division—which is responsible for the development and realization of in-house-produced series and films as well as for U.S. fiction—Frauke Neeb and Hauke Bartel will now jointly be responsible for all scripted offerings across the RTL media group.

Neeb’s credits include producing the hit series Der Club der roten Bänder, and she has already worked closely with Bartel in distribution. She moved to VOX in January 2018 as a fiction editor. Bartel has been head of fiction at VOX since April 2017 and credits include series such as Das wichtigste im Leben and Rampensau.

The new dual leadership team will report to RTL Managing Director Jörg Graf and VOX Managing Director Sascha Schwingel, who are working closely with Henning Tewes on their strategic program development.

Schwingel said: “Mediengruppe RTL is not exclusively Broadcasting or Streaming—we are both, highlighted by the reorganization of our fiction department. We want the strongest stories and the best talent of Germany on all our platforms. For this reason, the entire media group RTL should in the future also have access to the wealth of experience and creative know-how of our respective expert teams. Henning Tewes, Jörg Graf and myself are particularly pleased that we have been able to win two talents from our own ranks with Frauke Neeb and Hauke Bartel for this position. We wish both of them success in their extended tasks.”

Graf commented: “I thank Philipp Steffens very much for his involvement in RTL fiction. We owe him many successful new programs such as Deutschland 83 (i-Emmy-winner 2016) and Magda Macht schon! (German Television Award Winner 2018) as well as the valuable care of strong fictional brands like Der Lehrer as the most successful Primetime series on German private television and Alarm for Cobra 11 on RTL. I especially thank him for setting up a strong RTL network of creatives in front of and behind the camera. Philipp has successfully laid the foundation for a new, trusting work with talents and producers. We will continue on this path together with RTL, VOX and TVNOW. So I am very happy that we could win Frauke Neeb and Hauke Bartel for this new form of cooperation and wish them both a great start in a new team setup.”

Steffens said: “The last five years at RTL have been exciting, fascinating and characterized by great team spirit and a common will to succeed. Together, my editorial team and I have developed big ideas and tackled ambitious challenges. I am most grateful to my colleagues and team for their trust, cohesiveness and dedication.

With the reorganization, the timing is right for my next big adventure. It has always been important to promote new talent in front of and behind the camera, I‘m looking forward to working more closely with creatives in the near future. I am very pleased that Frauke Neeb and Hauke Bartel will take the lead on RTL fiction, they are the best choice for the role and I wish them every success!”