“It is up to us now to be the companions of rediscovered freedom, of joy and of pleasure.” Stéphane Sitbon-Gomez, director of antennas and programs at France Télévisions and right-hand man of CEO Delphine Ernotte, clearly announces the spirit of his back-to-school plans. Entertainment will be at the forefront.
The French watched a lot of television during the confinements. What is the balance sheet for the France Télévisions group?
We end the season with pride. France Télévisions keeps its leadership. Our digital audiences are leaping and France 2 is having its best season for ten years. It is not simply a “containment effect”. We managed to expand our audience. To rejuvenate it too, with more active ingredients. It is thanks to a more cultural and risky offer. In a universe of hyper-choice, the viewer goes towards the proposition with the strongest identity. The strength of France Télés is its difference.
How to characterize your return to school?
It will be atypical. Because it is presidential to come, but above all because it is post-Covid. I don’t know if there will be a world after, but there will be a life after. We have been supporting the French with home lessons or Culturebox; it is up to us to be the companions of rediscovered freedom, of joy and of pleasure.
The French thirst for lightness, freedom and entertainment
How will it be embodied?
First, by being able to move towards more of a good mood. The French thirst for lightness, freedom and entertainment. Culture must retain an important place. Culturebox, on channel 14, will have a very rich offer of shows never seen on TV. But culture will also be present on the other channels. For example, you will find The Grand Exchequer with Claire Chazal at its head on France 3, and her show Passage of the arts will become weekly in the second part of the evening on France 2.
Why did you choose Claire Chazal for The Grand Exchequer?
She is passionate. She loves culture and sharing it. In this presidential year, Anne-Sophie Lapix and Anne-Elisabeth Lemoine have each chosen to focus on their essential programs, the 20 Hours or C to you.
“C à vous” will be the essential meeting point for getting around the news with a sometimes offbeat look
C to you also changes dimension …
Yes. It has become a benchmark talk show. The show will be extended by twenty-five minutes to go until the early evening, with an essential place for Patrick Cohen in this presidential year. It will be the essential meeting point for getting around the news with a sometimes offbeat look. It will also welcome talents like Mohamed Bouhafsi, who joins us from RMC, or Bertrand Chameroy, who will make us laugh every day. In addition, Pascale Clark will present a weekly voiceover version of the show Seen, which dissects the news in images. It will be Sunday on France 5. Finally, We are live will have a new formula with Laurent Ruquier and Léa Salamé.
Will you be launching new programs?
We are going to invest in new entertainment, more soap opera, with the production of a talent show around the music carried by Nagui. Baptized The Artist, it will highlight the songwriters and performers who deserve to be discovered. We are also working on humor, with several projects in preparation for comedy shows which will highlight little-known comedians. Likewise, we are preparing stand-up shows to exhibit these rare new creative scenes on television.
It is also the return of Thierry Ardisson to the public service.
Yes. We are moving forward on his project, The time hotel, made up of imaginary interviews with missing personalities. A first pilot has been produced, which seems very original.
All of our international co-productions will hit the air by the end of the year. Germinal, Around the world in eighty days, Leonardo, on Leonardo da Vinci …
And the live show?
We will amplify the offer. Regardless of the recordings of the Chorégies d’Orange or the Festival d’Avignon, we will have our own festival with the Estivals Culturebox, recorded in Montpellier, produced and created by France Télévisions with all genres of music. We will broadcast four evenings every summer on France 2. We were inspired by what the BBC had done at the time of the London Olympics.
Exactly, what is your program for the Tokyo Olympics?
We will provide coverage on all channels, from 11 pm to 6 pm, every day, on France 2 and France 3. France 4 will broadcast collective sports. The day before the opening, we will broadcast in prime time a documentary on Teddy Riner, which we have been following for two years. These Olympics are all the more important for France Télés as they prepare the march towards Paris 2024. Thus, we will organize, at the end of October-beginning of November of this year, that is to say a thousand days before the start of Paris 2024, a major concert broadcast. live.
Read also – Tokyo Olympic Games: what France Télés and L’Equipe are preparing
What are you preparing for the fictions?
All of our international co-productions will hit the air by the end of the year. Germinal, Around the world in eighty days, Leonardo, on Leonardo da Vinci… Among the beautiful series of authors, I will mention The island of thirty coffins, an adaptation of the work of Maurice Leblanc, or that of Elementary particles, by Michel Houellebecq. As well as a Madame Bovary modern for the 200th anniversary of Flaubert’s birth.
We come back with a new proposition in the DNA of “Télématin”: to wake up in a good mood
We evoke the resurrection of It is discussed, the program of Jean-Luc Delarue …
Not the show itself, but its concept. We are working with Faustine Bollaert on a testimonial program built in the same vein. This program, produced by Reservoir Prod, the company behind It is discussed, will take place in public. It will be called The times are changing. Like Karim Rissouli’s show C policy, on France 5, I also want us to develop programs of societal debates.
Telematin is having a seizure; where is its overhaul?
Telematin remains the first morning in France all media combined. Laurent Bignolas is finishing a season in progress and we have other projects with him. At the start of the school year, we come back with a new proposal in the DNA of Telematin : wake up in a good mood. With Thomas Sotto and Julia Vignali, from Monday to Thursday, and Damien Thévenot and Maya Lauqué on weekends, it’s a new team surrounded by a tight band with more humor, while dealing with the substantive news in fills. Alex Vizorek will be on the team. It will be a morning very different from the “hard news” offered by the news channels. It will be followed every day by the Kindergartens, who arrive on France 2 at 9:30 am.
Exactly, what does the success of CNews say about French society?
I see an interest among the French for transgression and harshness. But it is not for the public service to outbid the race for opinion. On the contrary, it is up to us to be the guarantors of pluralism and to maintain nuance in the debate.