Newswatch | Newswatch

You are here

Star French news anchor gets run over by blonde Ferrari

The appointment of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's alleged ex-girlfriend to the country's most prestigious TV news position has taken the country's media landscape by storm.

Fortyone-year-old Laurence Ferrari is to replace France's most popular and influential news reader, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, as the host of France's most-watched news programme, the evening news on TF1.

Liberation and Le Parisien newspapers suggested Sarkozy—a close friend of TF1's owner, business magnate Martin Bouygues—had played a part in Ferrari's nomination, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Both newspapers reported Sarkozy had apparently let it be known he would be happy to see Ferrari in PPDA's job.

Poivre d'Arvor, better known as "PPDA", has been reading the flagship bulletin on TF1 since 1987 and is regularly seen on magazine covers, at society events and in gossip columns. He will be replaced by Ferrari, a newsreader on pay TV Canal Plus, ending a career as the face of the evening news that began more than three decades ago on public broadcaster France 2, said a Reuters report.

Reuters had more on PPDA's background:

"PPDA, who became a logo in his own right, invented the star journalist in France and in this capacity, hated by many, feared by others, set his mark on the 8 o'clock news for more than 30 years," the left-wing daily Liberation said in an editorial.

Poivre d'Arvor's grave demeanour, good looks and deep voice have made him one of the most popular media personalities in France but he has also been involved in controversy. He was suspended for several weeks in 1996 after being fined and given a suspended prison sentence for accepting lavish gifts and Caribbean holidays from a businessman.

He was also involved in a spat over a report from 1991 that appeared to be an interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro but which was in fact made up of footage from a news conference.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur has some background on Ferrari:

Ferrari is apparently no stranger to the French president. After Sarkozy's divorce last October, numerous media reported that she and Ferrari were romantically involved.

The online edition of the British Daily Mail, which called Ferrari "arguably the most beautiful star of French television," reported in November that she had divorced her husband of 14 years amid rumours that she and Sarkozy were dating.

One source quoted by the newspaper said the two had a "close and loving relationship," and suggested that the two may have been dating since March 2007, when Ferrari had a one-on-one live interview with Sarkozy during his successful presidential campaign.

If there was a relationship, it apparently ended in November, when Sarkozy met the woman who eventually became his third wife, singer and ex-model Carla Bruni. However, French media were reluctant to discuss the issue, and when they did Ferrari took them to court.

In January of this year, for example, a court awarded her 5,000 euros (8,900 dollars) from the French free daily Metro for invasion of privacy for having reported on the Daily Mail article about the affair. Neither she nor Sarkozy have ever denied the stories that they had dated.

Date posted: June 10, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 982