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Ernotte fires France 2 boss Meslet

Vincent Meslet, France 2’s executive director since August 2015 was abruptly fired yesterday by France Télévisions’ president Delphine Ernotte.

The French pubcaster issued a statement yesterday and said Meslet was leaving because of divergent opinions on strategy.

France Télévisions delegate director to strategy and programmes, Caroline Got, will fill Meslet’s role on an interim basis.

Meslet formerly worked successfully to boost Arte’s programming.

Ernotte’s decision is rooted in the channel’s poor ratings. This September it registered a 12.5% audience share compared to 14.4 % a year earlier, the worst ratings in the network’s history.

Daytime slots, which have been reshuffled, with the introduction of new shows including Mille et Une Vies and AcTualiTy, are particularly suffering, registering audience shares of around 6%.

Meslet recently said in the French press that “things have been readjusted, with a changes taking effect from November”. At that point he still had Ernotte’s backing.

Three weeks ago, France Télévisions held a press conference about the new season, and the group’s president said daytime “has been complicated for years”.

“We made the choice to change it all, radically,” added Ernotte. “Yes, it hasn’t started very strongly, but the new shows need time.”

Ernotte dismissed questions about the audience impact on ad revenues, saying “advertising is not what governs us”. That was disputed by market watchers given that primetime advertising is banned for the pubcaster, and the daytime and access slots are those generating ad revenues.

France 2 has not decided to axe its new shows.