“We met in a cafe very discreetly”: Bruce Toussaint tells behind the scenes of his overwhelming move from BFMTV to TF1

It’s the back-to-school media event: TF1 launches a morning show this Monday, January 8, from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., live. A niche that the leading European channel had been abandoning for more than thirty years. BFMTV libertine Bruce Toussaint takes over. He agreed to answer our questions.

What mood do you feel in front of the TF1 morning show?

I am very proud to have been chosen for this adventure which, I know, is An important issue for the chain. I’m under pressure, but I can’t wait to get started.

How did your transfer to TF1 come about? Did you approach him discreetly?

Yes, Thierry Thuillier (TF1 group information director) contacted me on September 26. He was presenting a special edition of BFMTV in Marseille on the occasion of the Pope’s visit and wanted to see me very quickly.

We met 48 hours later in a cafe, very discreetly. Then I met Rodolphe Belmer and Ara Aprikian (TF1’s #1 and #2). The four of us sat around a table. We had to make a quick decision because the timing was very tight. Three months to put on a show of this magnitude is very short.

Did you hesitate?

Honestly, quite a bit, because I found the challenge fascinating. What was a little complicated was the timing because it meant leaving my previous job during the season and that is always a little difficult, that’s what was difficult for me to manage.

But I understood the means implemented by TF1, they also asked me to participate in the editorial elections, what a joy to launch a show, especially a daily one, it is increasingly rare!

Your departure caused an earthquake at BFMTV, where you had worked for five years. How did they find out?

I announced it myself to Marc-Olivier Fogiel.

What was your reaction?

That’s confidential, it was behind closed doors of his office.

Unrest in Paf

The launch of “Bonjour! La matinale TF1”, live from 7 to 9:30, Monday to Friday, is causing a stir at Paf. On FranceTV, where this new competitor has hired columnists (Maud Descamps, Vincent Valinducq, Benjamin Muller). And at BFMTV, weakened by the departure of its star journalist, at a time when the leadership of the information channel is more disputed than ever, a topic on which Bruce Toussaint did not want to comment, considering himself “badly placed.”
“We can ask ourselves if there is not a desire for destabilization. Especially when we see that, for a year now, TF1 has been trying to steal around twenty people from BFMTV,” asks Marc-Olivier Fogiel, director of BFMTV, in La Tribune. Altice, its parent company, wrote to Arcom, concerned about “the possible repercussions of the important modification of the TF1 calendar.” The first channel assures, for its part, that it is not seeking to destabilize its competitors, but also to find its place in a niche that it had abandoned since 1990.

What prompted TF1 to launch this morning show? Was the cabin in trouble?

There were really no difficulties in this somewhat hybrid slot, with one part of cartoons and another of teleshopping, the idea was to create a new informative meeting and a welcome program to wake up viewers, encourage them to spend the day. in TF1. And then launch into this morning battle. There was no reason for TF1 not to be present in this space.

There will be head-to-head competition with France 2, how will your morning show be different from Télématin?

We do not intend to position ourselves regarding Télématin, I have a lot of respect and admiration for this program, which is one of the most consolidated and oldest on television, it is an institution. Of course I will be attentive to the competition, there are many, there are also news channels, radio… But we will do our own morning show without worrying about others.

But the objective is still to gain market share from Télématin…

No, frankly, we have not said to ourselves “we have to steal viewers from Télématin”, first we want to try to gain new viewers, people who are not necessarily used to turning on the television in the morning.

It is not always a reflection and I regret it, because we can also have a great time at breakfast, when we wake up, sharing the information that we can offer, with a dynamic and invigorating awakening.

What is the concept?

The show will be built on three axes: we will start with the news and the weather, the second point is the regions, they will be very present in the news and the talk, it is not an artifice, nor an element of decoration. , that will be the DNA of this morning.

The third pillar will be the group of 16 columnists.

And every day there will be a political guest and a cultural or celebrity guest (Xavier Bertrand and Pascal Obispo will be the first guests, this Monday, January 8).

Thomas Sotto, from Télématin, says of you that you are “a person who gives a very good morning.”

I return the compliment. We often crossed paths with Thomas Sotto, he replaced me in Europe 1, there we met, in a way, face to face. He is a great morning journalist and above all a very good journalist who has relaunched this program perfectly.

Still on the competition side, what inspires you about the rise of CNews?

I look at what is happening, it is possible that this is indicative of something that goes beyond the media universe. Without a doubt, this is a reflection of a change in society.

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