By William Pherrel

Unbelievable but true, a casting show in Germany began airing a casting show to find the most suitable partner for four gentry candidates (one of which is a true Count) and hopes in this way to find the most suitable partner for the lucky hopefuls.

For the sake of the show, all four noblemen were given the title of Count in their search for a Countess, and were of course accompanied by a television camera and crew guaranteeing the highest possible level of quality, and in the interests of the broadcaster, a high audience quota. The German television broadcasting station SAT1 is hoping to attain at least an 11% audience quota with over 2 million viewers (which is excellent for German television viewer statistics, but that is besides the point …)

The idea is based on the reality TV shows popular the world over like “America’s Next Top Model” and similar. For the Europeans of course, the nobility is still a relatively interesting and current topic, even though noble families are hardly ever seen in public or heard of in the press. All the more interesting is it to see citizens in “elevated” positions in this kind of television show with the intention of convincing one of the candidates of why she should pick him, or better yet, why she was chosen by him. Only at the end of the show, is it intended to reveal the true colors of the four gentlemen and of course who the real Countess will be.

Like I mentioned earlier, only one of the candidates is a true Count – Moritz Count to Reventlow, who incidentally is the innovator of the show. The other three bear titles of letter aristocracy, meaning that, members of the letter aristocracy were issued a letter of nobility from a higher noble, typically a King or Prince at some time in history. The name is then passed on from generation to generation. Thus the other three candidates Benedikt von Hobe, Michael von Miller and Constantin von zur Muelen are merely of heritable noble descent, indicated by the “von” in their names and are by no means from direct royal lineage. In fact, Michael von Miller’s descendants were given a peerage as recently as 1875, being merely a nobleman of the court.

In any case, the show is promising to be highly entertaining and is groomed to all levels of viewers. This might perhaps be the beginning of a renewal of concrete interest in matters of peerage and nobility, as the public eye is drawn to a topic that has been long forgotten – the German (and European for that matter) heritage of heraldry.