Shailene Woodley, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman in "Big Little Lies" - HBO

  • TF1 broadcast this Tuesday the multi-award winning HBO series Big Little Lies  .
  • The American series, led by the trio of star actresses Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman, has gathered fewer viewers than the French series La Stagiaire , worn by Michèle Bernier.
  • Why has Big Little Lies failed to seduce the audience of TF1?

A daring bet! Too much perhaps… TF1 broadcast this Tuesday the first two episodes of the superb American series Big Little Lies , led by the trio of star actresses Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman. The channel was beaten by France 3, leading the audiences with the new episodes of season 5 of its French series La Stagiaire , carried by Michèle Bernier. Why has Big Little Lies not (yet) succeeded in seducing the TF1 audience?

The two unpublished works of La Stagiaire attracted an average of 4.09 million spectators, or 20.5% of the public aged four and over and 5.2% of housewives under the age of 50, according to Médiamétrie, while the first two episodes of Big Little Lies , a haloed series of 8 Emmys and 4 Golden Globes, garnered only 3.74 million series fans, or 19.5% market share and 30.5% among housewives under 50 .

I find it surprising that TF1 decided to program #BigLittleLies given the quality and complexity of the subjects discussed, it's really not usual but that's good!

- A. SKARSGÅRD DAILY (@ASkarsgardDaily) August 25, 2020

If the score remains satisfactory (in particular because TF1 comes first on the preferred target of advertisers), TF1 has however lost more than 900,000 viewers between the two episodes.

A series not suitable for a family audience

On Twitter, TF1 viewers who discovered the series broadcast on the cable channel HBO in the United States, then on OCS in France two years ago, formulate two criticisms of the series. On the one hand, Big Little Lies is not suitable for a family audience. The event miniseries features the lives of five women in the upscale coastal town of Monterey, California. A seemingly perfect life until the day a corpse is discovered in the middle of a school party.

This murder serves as a common thread for the seven episodes of the first season. Through a series of flashbacks that led to the assassination, the editing, admirable, sometimes bordering on epilepsy, mixes the visions and memories of the characters with the interrogations of the investigation.

Bof ... I find that there are too many images, flashes, it goes all over the place, I forgot that there had been a murder ... We get lost ... I'm waiting to see, in view of the good reviews .. 🧐 #BigLittleLies

- Morgane Nadeau-Vanni (@MalabarDesigner) August 26, 2020

Frankly I was pissed off in front of I skipped the 1 episode, the plot looks nice but it's turned strangely we quickly lose track #BigLittleLies

- #SweetCreature (@AvaneaaH) August 26, 2020

Big Little Lies will reveal, behind the smiles of facade of these wealthy mothers of families, bruised faces, human and intimate dramas, toxic relationships and the sad reality of domestic violence.

This is absolutely not a series to watch with the family 🤭 # BigLittleLies

- نعيمة 🌻 (@ Nama80432624) August 25, 2020

Uh ... the scene is super shocking. It's a -10 series but I don't understand ???? It should be +, the scene shocked me myself. Whore. #BigLittleLies

- Julie. 🕊 (@stylesxparadise) August 25, 2020

A psychological drama that takes time to set in

In addition, some viewers of TF1, have not "hooked" to the series, deemed "talkative".

What a "talkative" and phrasing series! 😱😱 #BigLittleLies

- Isabelle Balkany (@ibalkany) August 25, 2020

10 minutes and already I can more, and that it chatters, and that it chattering, gnagna, serious a series that with girls it is a tanasse. #BigLittleLies

- Bruno (@ Macias23575308) August 25, 2020

In its trailer, TF1 presented and sold Big Little Lies as a breathtaking thriller and viewers found themselves in front of a psychological drama, against a background of murder, which takes time to settle.

A series not calibrated for TF1

In the United States, the series was broadcast on HBO, the cable channel that produces luxurious content for a rather affluent and demanding niche audience. HBO is the channel that elevated the screenwriter to a true author.

As a pay channel, HBO can allow time for a series to set up its universe, its plot and its characters. What matters is not the hearings the next day, but the number of subscribers next month.

HBO never intended to satisfy all audiences by tracing its repertoire of programs on that of the networks, the large American free channels. The channel can afford series with patient and complex scenarios with shocking or bare scenes.

Clearly, the platform audience is not that of the classic channels. And when TF1 puts Big Little Lies on the air, the niche represented by the spectators who have seen it on OCS is negligible compared to the audience of TF1.

- Robin Barataud (@RobinBarataud) August 26, 2020

TF1, for its part, is a free channel, which must satisfy a wide range of viewers with heterogeneous tastes, with programs which must not displease the targets of its advertisers.

Generally, TF1 buys its programs in the United States from the networks, which obey the same specifications for fiction. Grey's Anatomy is for example broadcast on ABC, the franchise Les Experts on CBS.

A difficult dilemma to resolve

TF1 (like all the other major channels) is faced with a difficult dilemma to resolve. Young French viewers have developed an appetite for the sharp fictions of American cable channels. As proof, the phenomenal success of the HBO series Game of Thrones .

If TF1 wants to capture this young audience (who blithely laughs at the iconic popular series of TF1 like Joséphine, guardian angel ), it must change its programming. On the other hand, TF1 takes the risk of disturbing older viewers accustomed to Lethal Weapon  and Camping Paradis .

Big Little Lies on TF1 is super cool, it will introduce a lot of people to this little-known HBO nugget 💕

- Frieda (@_adeirf_) August 22, 2020

3.7M for Big Little Lies, beaten by France 3. You amaze me that shit goes on as a bonus on the big chains 😐

- thom (@WhiskyAndKisses) August 26, 2020

France Télévisions, for its part, relies on a dedicated platform, France TV Slash, to satisfy this new informed public. The health crisis - and the interruption of many filming - did not help matters and forced the major chains to buy dramas from American cable channels.

Glued by the cast of #BigLittleLies last night, I'll follow I think.

- Lulu Cineaddict (@LuluCineaddict) August 26, 2020

So I quite liked the first episode of Big Little Lies (yes I waited for tf1 to watch the series because I'm a granny), so go watch the second in replay today 😊

- Oceane 🦦 (@OcetLlt) August 26, 2020

An opportunity for part of the French public not yet familiar with the codes of these less easily accessible series to appropriate them? Hold on to Big Little Lies, it's off to a slow start, sure, but it's one of the most intense and powerful dramas that American television has produced recently.


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