French pubcaster in appointment spat


PARIS -- The weather in Gaul is getting colder, but things are heating up at public TV group France Televisions as its president, Patrick De Carolis, continues to find himself at odds with state legislatures over Monday's appointment of Francois Guilbeau to the top spot at France 2.

On Monday, the group announced that Guilbeau would replace Philippe Baudillon as France 2's general director after being selected by France Televisions' Board of Administrators.

However, in an act of defiance, all five of the representatives of the board from the French government abstained from voting and have now expressed their discontent with Guilbeau's appointment.

"The principal shareholder has the right to be informed," a rep for the state told French newspaper Le Monde said. The government board members allege that they were told of Baudillon's resignation days before, but were not informed of his successor.

"We agree we have to inform government shareholders about our major strategic decisions, but Patrick De Carolis has the responsibility as head of the company to choose his own team," shot back a spokesperson for France Televisions.

France 2 has been struggling all year to maintain its audience share, which fell from 19.5% in November of last year to 17.8% in November 2007, according to Mediametrie figures.

France Televisions, whose state budget for 2008 is 2.9 billion euros ($4.2 billion), is sticking to its appointment decision.

French Cultural Minister Christine Albanel told French newspaper Liberation Friday that "Patrick De Carolis has all my support."