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Net orders ‘Burger’

Canal Plus uses quiz show to beef up sked

PARIS — Canal Plus is counting on a cheeky quizzer presented by one of France’s most popular comedians to rejuvenate its Gallic pay TV channel’s fall schedule, unveiled Wednesday.

“Burger Quiz,” set in a cafe and hosted by Alain Chabat, will pose risque questions like “Which U.S. president believes oral sex is not infidelity?”

“The food’s bad but the questions are funny,” Chabat joked with journalists at a press briefing.

The comedian-director recently finished shooting the Claude Berri-produced “Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra.”

Like other parts of the Canal Plus Group, the French pay TV channel, 49% owned by Vivendi Universal, has been through upheaval in recent months. Some 50 jobs have gone, with well-known presenters receiving pinkslips earlier this year in an across-the-board cost-cutting drive.

With 4.6 million subscribers, execs reckon the channel is approaching a plateau and have opted to spend $14 million less on the unencrypted shows that have traditionally attracted new subscribers.

But the channel has upped its spending on encrypted movies and sport by some $70 million for a total programming budget of $879 million.

In a further sign of the times, Wednesday’s press briefing was attended by several American execs, including the film and TV division’s financial chief Bill Sutman and Universal’s corporate PR chief Iris Gelt.

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