Paris (AFP)

Deprived of broadcast on CNews and not yet a presidential candidate, Eric Zemmour continues to boost the audiences of other channels, to the point of having brought BFMTV to the head of the PAF Thursday evening against Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

The debate between the leader of rebellious France and the polemicist gathered 3.8 million viewers on average, ahead of TF1 and far ahead of France 2, with an audience share (PDA) of 18.8%, according to Médiamétrie .

BFMTV thus signs the second best score in its history, after that recorded in April 2017, when 5.5 million viewers followed the debate between the eleven presidential candidates on its antenna, for a PDA of 28%.

With a peak of 4.3 million viewers at 9:39 p.m., Thursday's debate also attracted 500,000 young people aged 15 to 34, BFMTV director general Marc-Olivier Fogiel told AFP. happy to be able to reach all audiences ".

For its part, France 2, which launched the first issue of "Elysée 2022", gathered only 1.05 million spectators (5.1% of PDA).

The political program, and its face-to-face meeting between the right-wing primary candidate Valérie Pécresse and the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, comes in 6th position behind TMC with "Camping 3".

Even the punchy series of TF1 "Fugueuse" (3.6 million viewers, 18.2% of PDA), on teenage prostitution, did not resist BFMTV, which claims the place of 3rd channel in France on the whole day.

This shows that "political events are no longer the prerogative of traditional channels", according to Marc-Olivier Fogiel.

And that there was "an expectation that goes beyond curiosity, a political expectation" at "a time when Mélenchon has something to play on the left and where Zemmour for the moment is upsetting the game on the right and the extreme right" .

- "magnifying glass effect"?

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The locomotive of CNews hearings since 2019, the polemicist has been excluded from the show "Face à l'Info" because of the counting of his speaking time imposed by the CSA, which now considers him a political figure.

Shouting at "censorship", he nonetheless scours the TV sets, on the pretext of promoting his latest book, with success: 861,000 viewers (against 594,000 the day before for the doctor Karine Lacombe) in front of "Bourdin Direct" on September 15 on BMFTV, 816,000 in front of "We are live" on September 11 on France 2 (against 709,000 for Jean Castex on 4), and 540,000 in front of "L'Heure des pros" on September 13 on CNews, a "record". ..

"The disruptive is a vacuum cleaner audience. Far right in general," responded Friday the former executive of TF1 Robert Namias, comparing Eric Zemmour to Jean-Marie Le Pen.

"Populism pays. Magnifying glass effect that is not predictive," he tweeted.

The omnipresence of Eric Zemmour in the media, who often says that it is in his "interest to prolong the ambiguity" on his candidacy, raises questions in the community, accused of having fabricated it.

"We had the same debate with Jean-Marie Le Pen. TV shows the phenomenon, it does not create it," says Marc-Olivier Fogiel.

At France Televisions, we refuse the "strategy of the race to the audience" adopted by BFMTV in the face of growing competition from CNews, his news boss, Laurent Guimier, told AFP on Thursday.

"Our public service responsibility is to put things in perspective," he insisted, citing "several extremely strong democratic times" such as the "environmentalist primary", deserving more airtime than a "possible candidacy".

"The day when Eric Zemmour will be officially a candidate (...) he will be received in our information broadcasts," he assured.

The other channels are less patient: Eric Zemmour will be received Sunday in the "Grand rendez-vous" on CNews and by Ruth Elkrief on LCI on Monday.

He will also be the first political guest on Wednesday for the Paris Première program "Restons Zen", the replacement for ... "Zemmour et Naulleau".

© 2021 AFP

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