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TF1 takes 95 out of 100 top aud rankings in 1999

Largest aud of year: 14 mil watch Rugby World Cup final

PARIS — French terrestrial broadcaster TF1 confirmed its dominance of the ratings game by grabbing 95 of the top 100 program rankings in 1999.

The network that the Paris cultural elite loves to hate continues to be a smash with a French public.

Scrumming up aud

While the biggest audience of the year was the 14 million fans who tuned in to watch France’s surprise appearance in the November final of the Rugby World Cup, no fewer than 45 of the top 100 shows were local dramas.

That’s a feather in the cap for programming supremo and TF1 vice chairman Etienne Mougeotte, who has been repositioning the web’s primetime sked away from what he has described as being occasionally “trash TV.”

Primetime drama a la TF1 remains firmly based around copshows such as “Julie Lescaut” and veteran ratings winner “Navarro.” Feature films make up 21 of the top 100, with the best result of 1999 going to “Pretty Woman” and its 11.4 million viewers.

Year-end deluge

With pubcasters France 2 and France 3 managing just five of the top 100 shows between them, regional broadcaster France 3 had to wait until late in the year to challenge TF1. The mighty tempest that caused so much havoc in France over the Christmas period enabled France 3’s Dec. 28 regional news to attract 9 million viewers — the 67th best audience of the year.

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