The big leap: After 23 years of entertainment on France 2, Laurent Ruquier will host a current affairs debate show on BFMTV from Monday. If the news is not new to him, “the radical change is the news channel,” he told AFP in an interview.
What will this daily Le 20H de Ruquier look like?
“It will be an hour of current affairs broadcast from 20:00 to 21:00, with commentary, debate and me giving my two cents on the day’s news or more confidential topics.” There will be guests, columnists – who we’re amazed at – and Julie Hammett (Reporter from LCI, Ed. Note) who will put the information into context. I have to have a reporter by my side if there is breaking news. If we have to leave room live, we will, because that’s the principle of BFM. But 90% of the time we will be more involved in the discussion.
The public knows you for humor and entertainment: is this a radical change?
“No, not as much as I think, but the radical shift is the support, the fact that you’re on a news channel. I have been reading the press every morning for 30 years for my work, including Grosses Têtes (which he hosts daily on RTL radio, ed. note). And I’ve always been a bit of a journalist, trying to find things in the press that not necessarily everyone will have seen. There are big heads for fun and for others we know I can wear other hats.
Do you think the audience will be surprised?
“Yes and no. My touch, odd eye and independence of mind will always be there, and in the past I’ve interviewed politicians or done specials about news that wasn’t funny, like the 2015 attacks. People who know me know I’m legit. Even if we lose a little bit of those who think I’m not, I hope they’re compensated by those who think I am and who didn’t necessarily watch BFM.
Ahead, on other channels, is 8 p.m. knowledge, Cyril Hanouna, Pascal Praud, Quotidien or C à vous. Who will be your competitors?
“Everybody (laughs)!” No, we decided not to be direct competitors with anyone, but to try to attract viewers on each channel. If successful, it should be successful in increasing the audience a bit.
Will your show be, as some believe, the left-wing equivalent of Pascal Praud on CNews, labeled right?
“Absolutely not, because I always gave the floor to commentators of all opinions. I got a lot of criticism for that: people on the left at one point gave the airwaves to Éric Zemmour, those on the right for giving it to Aymeric Caron (both were commentators before politics, ed. note). My best argument is to say “I have always had debaters from all walks of life and will continue to do so.”
What made you decide to take the plunge?
“It’s a career challenge; When you’re in my 60s and you’ve done a lot, it’s great that you can try to reinvent yourself. It was unexpected because I thought I would still be in France 2 this season and then circumstances made me prefer to leave. I didn’t know where, I communicated with TF1 and LCI and with BFM, where I had the opportunity to know Marc-Olivier Fogiel (CEO of the channel and former host of the star, editor’s note). I was immediately impressed by his offer. This is so exciting, can’t wait for Monday night!
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