PARIS– While Gaul’s pubcaster France Televisions is going through a rough financial patch, the race for the broadcaster’s top job is proving highly competitive, with 33 candidates in the running.
France Televisions’ current president, Remi Pflimlin, was named in 2010 by then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who had given his government the authority to appoint the pubcaster’s chief. The decision is now back in the hands of the CSA.
Pflimlin sparked a surprise by announcing that he was running for a second round. During his five-year term, which ends in August, Pflimlin faced a number of crises due to the ban on evening advertising, massive budget cuts and the subsequent pressure to reduce the workforce.
French journos have highlighted several high-profile candidates who have an extensive track record in the media industry: Marie-Christine Saragosse, prexy of international broadcasting group France Media Monde, which notably operates France 24; Eric Garandeau, former president of France’s National Film Board CNC; and Christophe Beaux, president of Monnaie de Paris. Both Garandeau and Beaux previously worked at France Televisions as independent administrators.
Although Garandeau is linked to the right wing due to his time as Sarkozy’s cultural adviser, he gained bipartisan support while leading the CNC. While at the CNC, Garandeau created a short film festival called Le Jour le Plus Court and supported the digitization of theaters, among other measures. Since leaving the film board in 2013, he has been involved in various initiatives such as the Women in Motion program, which will be launched by Kering and the Cannes Film Festival during the upcoming fest.
Saragosse, one of the country’s most powerful women, is perceived by many local journalists as the frontrunner for France Televisions’ presidency.
Other candidates include Cyril Hanouna, a popular TV and radio host for D8 and Europe 1.
The CSA will start deliberating on April 22 and is expected to unveil the name of France Televisions’ president on May 22.