When Patrick de Carolis replaced Marc Tessier as president of France Television last summer, the community was optimistic about his tenure. Here was a journalist and producer taking over the reins of the country’s five public channels, which together command more than 38% audience share. He owned his own prodco, Eclectic Productions, and as presenter of France 2′s popular current affairs show Des raciness et des ailes (Roots and Wings), he himself commissioned docs. He understood the industry. He’d also won his bid for the presidency by promising to improve the quality of programming on the channels while also raising viewership numbers.
One month into his new position, de Carolis had replaced the heads of France 2, 3 and 5, then turned his attention to their doc departments. After holding court as the doc head at France 2, Yves Jeanneau was summarily ousted. The move was considered to be politically motivated, but when France 3′s Patricia Boutinard Rouelle was announced as his successor, the position was enhanced to include magazine programs as well as docs. France 5′s Muriel Rosé replaced Boutinard Rouelle at France 3 and Carlos Pinksy filled Rosé’s former post. As the one-year anniversary of these changes nears, their outcome should become clear. With increased competition from new diginets, de Carolis and his new team will have to work hard to fulfill his promise of attracting more viewers.