Gallic pubcaster president Herve Bourges brought one of France’s longest-running TV sagas to an end Monday by announcing that he will not stand for a second term.
Bourges, whose three-year contract ends mid-December, told the television regulatory body CSA that his decision had been partly prompted by the feeling that he would not have the full support of his main shareholder — the state.
The CSA is looking at a nine-candidate short list for the job and is expected to name a successor to Bourges Dec. 13. Candidates include veteran film producer Toscan du Plantier and respected journalist Jean-Marie Cavada.
The pubcaster president, appointed under the socialist administration in 1990 , has been tipped to ankle since the conservatives came to power in March elections. But he has kept the industry and politicians guessing as to whether he would finally refrain from standing for a second term.
Difficult to ignore
Bourges’ record at the head of France 2 and France 3 would have made it difficult for the CSA to ignore his candidacy. The conservative administration, anxious to avoid a second term of Bourges, has offered the post of ambassador to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
In his three-year presidency, Bourges brought the two pubcasters closer together, creating joint programming teams, revamping the pubcasters’ image and significantly reducing losses. Last year both France 2 and France 3 declared profits, although results for 1993 are expected to slip back into the red. He also halted the dramatic slide in ratings, boosting the combined pubcaster market share to around 40%.