TV screens may still have been small, but the shows they brought into living rooms enjoyed outspoken and widespread popularity. Ufa’s television productions presented broadcasters with the whole gamut of mainstream entertainment genres and formats: from music show to literary adaptation, period piece to family series.
While Ufa-Filmproduktion was working with West Berlin cabaret star Dieter Hallervorden on slapstick comedies for cinemas – the subsidiary had in fact been founded for this very purpose – about a dozen East German DEFA stars came to Ufa-Fernsehproduktion, also based in Berlin. Many of them either wanted or had to leave the GDR after singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann was expatriated. Directors such as Frank Beyer, authors including Jurek Becker, Günter Kunert, and Klaus Poche, DEFA stars Manfred Krug, Hilmar Thate, Angelica Domröse, etc. made critically charged current affairs pieces for West German TV, earning new respect for Ufa-Fernsehproduktion with the networks.