ZDF Studios snaps up global distribution rights for award-winning children’s series Housemates – Vacation Without Parents

Mainz, July 13th, 2023

ZDF Studios is pleased to announce that it has secured the international format distribution rights of Housemates – Vacation Without Parents (20 x 26’ and 10 x 25’, OT “Die WG”), the hugely successful reality show airing on Germany’s popular KiKA channel since 2009. The series ranks as ZDF Mediathek’s most watched children’s programme and has amassed an enormous fan community on social media sites such as TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. The show has achieved the status of a true evergreen on German TV by now. The boys edition of Housemates – Vacation Without Parents has accumulated over 140 episodes in 8 seasons, while the girls edition now has more than 130 episodes in 7 seasons. On top of that, several specials, spin-offs, and brand extensions have taken the franchise to even higher levels.

Housemates – Vacation Without Parents is a multiple award-winning format. Amongst others, the programme won the prestigious German TV award Grimme Preis, the Golden Sparrow Award and was nominated for the Prix Jeunesse. Last year both Belgium (VRT MAX) and the Netherlands (NTR) launched their own versions of this engaging show. In Germany, FUNK, the public service channel for young adults, aired the special series Housemates – the Reunion on the 10th anniversary of the “Housemates” living together.

A trailblazer in reality TV for kids, Housemates – Vacation Without Parents follows a group of five girls and/or 5 boys on the threshold of adulthood whose dream has come true when they are invited to spend 3 weeks without their parents in a luxurious villa in a beautiful spot somewhere in Europe. During their time together not only do they have lots of fun and make strong friendships but, for the first time, they must take responsibility for their everyday lives. Household chores such as cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry come into play as well as general activities like shopping or visiting a hairdresser. The children also learn and gain new experiences, for example, by taking part in ice hockey training or attending a cooking school or by doing a one-day internship in a retirement home. 

Lisa Boersen, Head of Children's department NTR - Public Television in the Netherlands, says:  „Zonder Ouders op Vakantie (ZOOV) is the Dutch version of Housemates - Vacation without Parents. It is wonderful to see how during the trip, the young teenagers not only get to know each other, but also themselves. By taking on challenges and overcoming fears, they realize that they can already do a lot on their own, but may still have some things to learn....“

Jan-Frederik Maul, Director Junior, ZDF Studios said: “Housemates – Vacation Without Parents is captivating for young viewers because they get to see their peers in a unique set-up. Getting in the shoes of an adult for a limited amount of time with both its freedom and responsibilities is a unique experience for the protagonists and viewers.  The success of the format is partly based on the fact that the young viewers can identify with the cast and project themselves into the situation of living together with the Housemates. Seeing their heroes going about their daily lives, discussing relevant issues at eye level, and having loads of fun has shown to be a very connecting viewing experience. Respect, diversity and positivity in resolving issues, are the core values of this format which is easily adaptable and would appeal to junior audiences everywhere.”


About ZDF Studios
ZDF Studios is a commercial subsidiary of ZDF, one of the largest TV broadcasters in Europe. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Mainz, Germany, the ZDF Studios Group operates more than 30 direct and indirect subsidiaries and affiliates in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom spanning TV production, distribution and services. The parent company, ZDF Studios, is responsible for global programme distribution, realisation of international co-productions, acquisition of licences and merchandising of successful programme brands under its own name, for ZDF and third parties. ZDF Studios has the largest German-language programme inventory in the world and a constantly growing range of international productions, consisting of series and mini-series, television films, documentaries and children's programmes.

The companies of the ZDF Studios Group cover the entire value chain from the development of scripted and unscripted TV content to production, marketing and monetizing, including TV and streaming licences as well as merchandising and online rights. The positioning of ZDF Studios as an integrated media company enables the development of innovative, outstanding and high-quality programmes and makes the Group an attractive workplace for German and international talent to flourish in a very inspiring and creative environment.

Contact ZDF Studios
Christine Denilauler (VP Marketing and Corporate Communications), ZDF Studios GmbH, Erich-Dombrowski-Str. 1, 55127 Mainz/Germany, Tel.: +49 6131-9911130, Email: christine.denilauler@zdf-studios.com, www.zdf-studios.com