Gauls galled over doc coin for ‘Popstars’

Centre National de la Cinematographie to aid skein's budget

PARIS — French TV production reps are fuming over a decision to grant 800,000 francs ($109,600) in “documentary” aid to French web M6’s primetime talent-spotting reality show “Popstars.”

The series, in which industry professionals put together and train an all-girl band, was given documentary status by the Centre National de la Cinematographie, which hands out $165 million in TV production subsidies annually.

That entitled the show, the latest in a spate of French reality skeins, to receive aid worth 4% of its $2.6 million budget.

Show, produced by Vivendi U subsid Expand, has also swallowed up a chunk of the cash that M6 is obliged to spend on French production under Gallic broadcasting law.

A body representing more than 30 irate TV production and copyright orgs in France announced this week that it will appeal to the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest legal authority. It has also lodged a complaint with French broadcasting authority the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel.

“It is total hypocrisy,” said Stephanie Pistre, public affairs officer for the organization. “The aid is supposed to help artistic creation, not to help TV channels make primetime light entertainment shows.”

The CSA will give its verdict Tuesday.

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