Cest la vie in French public TV

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“In the usual custom,” writes the international Follow the Media blog, “the autumn schedule for French public television is announced in a gala Paris press conference hosted by the president of France Télévisions.” This is the season everything changes there. French President Nicolas Sarkozy had made reorganization of pubTV there a priority after his 2007 election. At that time Sarkozy described his vision for French public broadcasting as creating a “national champion” in the model of the UK’s BBC, the blog says. Critics, including former French pubTV President de Carlois, railed against what they saw as government interference with the public airwaves.

That high-profile conflict between de Carlois and Sarkozy could – and did – fill a book, Le Hold-up de Sarkozy by journalist Emmanuel Berretta. He described one meeting between Sarkozy and de Carolis as “violent,” with de Carolis resigning in anger. Culture Minister Christine Albanel sided with President Sarkozy, referring to de Carolis as a “whiner.” Politician Jean-Francois Cope urged calm: “It is time for the holidays arrive.” Ultimately, de Carolis finished his term. On departure, he referred to his tenure as like being in a “force nine gale.”