France Televisions dropping ads, maybe more

Patrick de Carolis might be on his way out as group's chief

PARIS -- The French government is getting rid of ads on public TV group France Televisions and also might give the boot to the group's president, Patrick de Carolis.

Rumors have been swirling in Gaul that Nicolas Sarkozy's government plans to push De Carolis out as part of its strategy for a public TV revolution. A clause stipulating that De Carolis would remain in his position until his contract expires in 2010 was notably absent from a revised draft of the Cope Commission's proposal for a modified, ad-free, public TV service.

The proposal now reads that the head of France Televisions must be a member of the government, something which De Carolis, a former journalist, is not.

Cultural Minister Christine Albanel has been pushing to keep De Carolis in his position until his contract expires in 2010, as has the Cope Commission's president, Jean-Francois Cope. The final proposal will be reviewed Oct. 8 by government officials.

"The text can still be revised between now and then ... I will make sure that the text voted upon is clear in terms of De Carolis' presidency," Cope told Gallic newspaper Le Point.

Yet De Carolis, who has been vocal about his desire for more state funds for France Televisions' editorial agenda, might be on his way out anyway. He told French radio network RTL in July: "If I see that I don't have the possibility to do my job, I will say it and I will say 'stop.' "