Bomb threat cuts short German TV model show

By Maria Sheahan

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A bomb threat and an unattended suitcase prompted German broadcaster ProSieben to stop the finale of model competition show Germany's Next Topmodel and evacuate thousands of people from the event's venue on Thursday.

"We're sorry. We'll no longer be broadcasting today," ProSieben said on its Twitter account.

Organisers of Germany's Next Topmodel, which is presented by German model Heidi Klum, decided to clear the SAP Arena in the southwestern German city of Mannheim, where the show was being filmed, after an unidentified female person called in a bomb threat at around 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT), a spokesman for Mannheim police told Reuters.

In addition, a suspicious suitcase was found near the cloakroom, which police said in a statement that they were examining.

The spokesman could not say exactly how many people had been at the venue but estimated there had been around 8,000-10,000.

The police statement said the show's audience left the SAP Arena in a calm fashion on Thursday. Newspaper Bild reported on its website that Klum, her daughter Leni and the show's jury had been taken to an undisclosed location outside the venue.

Germany's Next Topmodel, a reality TV show based on model Tyra Banks' show America's Next Top Model, has faced some criticism from groups saying it conveys unrealistic ideals of beauty to teenage viewers.

ProSieben has said it welcomed the scrutiny, saying that all independent regulators that had looked into the show so far had found it to be suitable for children aged six years and up.

German regional media regulator mabb said this month it would initiate an investigation of the show's effect on teenagers following a complaint from activist group PinkStinks.

(Additional reporting by Michelle Martin in Berlin; Editing by Christian Plumb)