Mitten im 8en (or Mitten im Achten, abbreviated MiA)
was an Austrian TV soap/comedy series produced by the ORF
which ran from 10 May to 29 June 2007. The title translates to
"In the Middle of the 8th" (district), referring to Vienna's
Repeatedly announced to be a core feature of the retuned
programming by ORF's new management, the show received extremely
bad ratings and devastating criticism from the start, and was
thus cancelled in the middle of its first season.
== Setup ==
MiA was set to air at 7:30 pm on weekdays on ORF1, replacing the main
evening newscast (Zeit im Bild), which until then was
broadcast on both ORF TV channels simultaneously.
The plot revolved around a family, a neighbouring flat share, and
a bar in Vienna. It showed a demagogic mix of stereotypical,
one-dimensional characters, often drawing humor from their
incompatibility, and mocking cliches rather than providing real
The underlying concept was of John de Mol's, and was known to
have failed before in the Netherlands. For Austria it was redone
to combine Viennese humor and language style with slapstick and
sketch-like comedy as well as dramatic elements and focus on
== Production ==
Aware of losing many, especially younger viewers to German
private stations' daily soaps in that timeslot, ORF wanted to
offer a light dramedy-like series with a distinct Austrian
note. They also wished to respond to calls for a
domestic production, as opposed to the policy of buying
in German-dubbed U.S. sitcoms only.
MiA was shot entirely in studios on the outskirts of Vienna and
supplemented with a handful of outside establishing shots from
the "real" 8th district.
Among the actors were
kabarettists Gerold Rudle,
Angelika Niedetzky and Christoph Fälbl as well as the comedian
and TV show host Max Schmiedl. Most of the younger roles were
played by actors at the beginning of their careers. Due to ORF's
lack of authors and directors sufficiently experienced
in the genre, early production heavily relied on the assistance
of German personnel, who were planned to be gradually replaced by
Austrians as the show went on.
Journalists reported that test screenings had featured a laugh
track, anyway this was removed in the final version and replaced
by sound bits.
== Reception ==
The show is widely considered a total failure, with reactions
being tentative at best. Critics stated MiA was stuck between the
genres of soap opera and sitcom; its screenplays were said to be
too shallow to work as comedy *or* drama. Almost every
other part of the production was subject to scathing criticism as
well, including acting, directing and inaccuracy in depicting
Austrian (youth) culture.
MiA reheated the debate on public broadcasting's obligation to -
and definition of - quality programming, as well as its balance
between license fees and commercial
revenues. Namely the show was accused of excessive product placement. MiA was also heavily advertised outside the ORF
programmes, including posters, lottery games, ads in papers,
magazines, online and even on beer coasters.
Viewers' interest started out way below expectations and kept
shrinking throughout the whole season. Producers reacted by
having parts of the upcoming episodes rewritten to be less campy,
but negative reception from the media and the public
continued. Being a public foundation, ORF is supervised by
various boards representing the viewers as well as the parliamentary
constellation, most of which also supported the strong criticism
By the end of June 2007 MiA was eventually cancelled, closing with
a hastily written ending that skipped two years in the plot and
gave away the outcome to some major storylines. After that, the
rotation of Malcolm in the Middle was resumed as a
== Cast ==
== References ==
from Austrian newspapers' comments (in German):
Schwarzenegger, Christian (2007-04-13). "Wer stirbt hier eigentlich?". Der Standard. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
Wallnöfer, Isabella (2007-06-14). "Mitten im Chaos". Die Presse. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
== See also ==