Top TV figures for scandal-free Opera Ball

The live coverage of last night’s (Thurs) Opera Ball has given the ORF top market shares.The national broadcaster announced today up to 1.6 million people watched its broadcasting of the ball’s opening ceremony, adding that an average 1.43 million tuned in for the programme. ORF bosses said these figures mean a market share of 58 per cent for households with cable and satellite TV.Company officials pointed out last year’s viewer figures were topped last night as 1.34 million people watched broadcasting of the 2009 Opera Ball, which meant a market share of 54 per cent.ORF officials also said that the earlier “red carpet” part of last night’s broadcasting was seen by 1.29 million people on average, a market share of 46 per cent.This year’s Opera Ball went down without major scandals in contrast to previous editions. Ten years ago, Viennese actor Hubsi Kramar tried to enter the ball dressed as Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler to show his disagreement with Austria’s right-wing government coalition.Burlesque artist Dita Von Teese, star guest of Austrian entrepreneur Richard Lugner in 2008, made headlines by locking herself in the toilet in a bid to escape the paparazzi. Lugner’s 2007 VIP guest Paris Hilton did the same. And, according to the shopping centre manager, Grace Jones “had sex before, during and after the ball” in 1996.Lugner ensured most of the spotlight was on him and his entourage – featuring his 20-year-old girlfriend, his ex-wife, their daughter and her boyfriend – last night as it has been everywhere since 1992 when he started to invite international celebrities as his personal guests.The 77-year-old playboy was however given a hard time ahead of the bash since Lindsay Lohan was barred from being his guest after she arrived two hours late for her flight. The Hollywood actress exited the plane again after being asked to pay a 16,000 Euro fee for the delay.Lugner – whose 16-year-old daughter picked Lohan as guest after choosing Von Teese in 2008 and “Desperate Housewives” actress Nicollette Sheridan last year – managed to persuade Dieter Bohlen to attend the ball with him.The infamously foul-mouthed German talent show juror flew into Vienna the same day to attend the event with his girlfriend Carina Walz.Bohlen is one of the most controversial figures on German TV as he has faced a string of court cases after insulting contenders at various talent shows.A 44-year-old German is currently seeking 4,500 Euros compensation from the 56-year-old former “Modern Talking” singer after he claimed in front of the camera: “You must have been doing sit-ups when God was handing out the brains to people.”Wannabe star Ingo J. claims he has psychological problems as he has been insulted on the street after the scene was screened on German broadcaster RTL.”He’s definitely easier to handle than Lohan. And I don’t have to trust my weak English with him,” Lugner said about Bohlen.Another Opera Ball guest who attracted a lot of attention was Katie Price. The British TV celebrity attended the event on invitation of Austrian business couple Irene and Alexander Mayer after, according to Lugner, breaking a confidentiality deal over accompanying him.Asked whether she would live up to her reputation as someone who permanently causes scandals, she told TV teams on the red carpet: “I’m a lady – I’m dressed up as a lady and here to attend this ball as a lady. Don’t believe everything you read in the papers.”Price, who visited Vienna’s Spanish Riding School earlier this week, revealed she could imagine coming back next year.Other high-profile guests of last night’s Opera Ball were Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union, Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Muammar al-Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Gaddafi.