“It won’t get any more than that,” says Claus Kleber on Thursday evening before, as usual, he greets the audience with “Good evening”. It is his farewell and in his last today’s Journal he wants to make one thing clear right from the start: He has moderated the ZDF magazine 2977 times, the number is on a handwritten note that he holds in the camera. As if he wanted to reprimand anyone who might come up with the idea of claiming that he had completed 3,000 programs.
Clarify, present facts – that fits to the professional glue, “first moderator” of the show, which then leads directly to the Omikron contribution. Business as usal. At one point, however, when the program could have ended, as he says, he doesn’t know what to do next. It’s the point where Gundula Gause’s name appears on his display, the point where she thanks her long-term colleague on behalf of her team and the audience. Gause thanks Kleber for his “great journalistic spirit” and then says “what you don’t want to hear”, namely that an era is coming to an end with Claus Kleber. “We will miss you and I will especially miss you.”
Almost two decades and just said 2977 times, Claus Kleber, who as an ARD correspondent previously reported from America for a long time, moderated the today’s Journal. In a film you can see him with former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor in office, Colin Powell. The former ZDF editor-in-chief Nikolaus Brender praises Kleber in the clip as a “visionary on the one hand, but also a great realist”, just as he did him as head of the today journals wanted to have.
But “a little serious”, as Kleber says, it has to be all over again. And so the 66-year-old personally says goodbye to the audience with a plea. Kleber lists the political challenges of these days: China’s hard line, the situation on the Ukrainian border, the dismantling of democracy in America and a European idea that has lost its momentum, and sums up: Without a committed, informed public there will be no improvement give. The audience should deal with the journalistic work that his team (“a great team”) does every day. Clarify, present facts – but also appeal suits the news man and grand presenter Claus Kleber.
With a “good night and good luck” he really says goodbye to his last show. And Gundula Gause can only sigh with him at the high five: “Oh, Claus.”