4 July 2005 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

COLOGNE, Germany -- The product placement scandal that has rocked German pubcaster ARD claimed its first victims Monday as ARD fired Stephan Bechtle, Michael Von Mossner and Werner Lueder, three of the top execs at ARD production subsidiary Bavaria Film. ARD said the three had "for several years" violated German law by slipping illegal product placements into top-rated ARD soap Marienhof (HR 6/7). ARD also reprimanded Bavaria film head Thilo Kleine for failing to realize what was going on in his own company. The blatant placement on the Bavaria-produced show had the Marienhof cast pitching everything from new home furnishings, travel tips and even Turkey's entry into the European Union, all paid for by advertisers.

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