PARIS — France’s broadcasting authority on Wednesday named TV presenter and producer Patrick de Carolis to head pubcaster France Televisions, spurning the widely tipped favorite, outgoing topper Marc Tessier.
In one of the most important appointments in Gallic television, de Carolis won the required backing of five out of nine members of the Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel, the broadcast regulator, while Tessier received just three votes.
Tessier had a solid five-year track record in the job and appeared to be the strongest in a lineup of five candidates.
But in a major faux pas that irked members of the broadcasting authority on the eve of the vote, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin publicly supported Tessier in an interview with the daily newspaper Le Figaro.
Having been appointed by a left-wing government, Tessier also was saddled with the wrong political colors, whereas his successor is closer to France’s ruling Gaullists.
De Carolis is the presenter of pubcaster France 2’s popular current affairs show “Des racines et des ailes” and has his own production company, Eclectic Prods. When he takes on his new job Aug. 22 he will have to leave both behind.
De Carolis reportedly impressed members of the CSA with his vision for France Television’s future and its public service mission. However, detractors point out that compared with his professional experience thus far, running a broadcasting group with 10,000 employees is a different proposition.
Challenges ahead include holding on to market share in the face of new competition from an array of recently launched digital terrestrial TV channels and overseeing the launch of France’s 24-hour news channel.