Wieland Backes (born 1946) set out on his career in television while still a student of Chemistry and Geography at Stuttgart University, where he graduated with a PhD in 1978. He has been a live host with the then SDR since 1975, taking over a five-year directorship of the "Abendschau Baden-Württemberg" in 1981. In 1987, his newly founded department "Journalistische Unterhaltung" (Journalistic Entertainment) broke new ground for the SWR - a result of his work on innovative TV formats and concepts combining information and entertainment. As the longstanding host (1987-2014) of the weekly "Nachtcafé" Wieland Backes was known as the "uncrowned king of the highclass talk show" (DIE ZEIT). Further talk shows and entertainment programs he has hosted include "Auf der Couch" (1988-1992) and "Ich trage einengroßen Namen" (since 1999). The "Institut für Moderation" (imo; an institute dedicated to the training of live media hosts) at the "Stuttgarter Hochschule der Medien" (Stuttgart Media University; HdM) has benefitted from Backes' great experience since 2009: he promoted its foundation and became part of its faculty as an honorary professor. He has shown great public engagement in the Stuttgart area in various functions, having co-founded the Literaturhaus Stuttgart and sitting on the board of trustees of the Bürgerstiftung Stuttgart. Wieland Backes also used to be a member of the Federal Assembly for Baden-Württemberg and for the Social Democratic Party in 2004 and 2012.
Publications: Geschichten aus dem Nachtcafé. Mit einem Portrait des Moderators von Barbara Sichtermann (2003); Das Nachtcafé-Zitatebuch (2009).