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Canal+ chief ousted over ‘Guignols’ controversy

French media group Vivendi has sacked Canal+ CEO Rodolphe Belmer amid controversy about the future of the pay-TV channel and its prominent satirical puppet show Les Guignols.

Canal Plus parent company Vivendi said in a statement that Belmer had been relieved of his responsibilities. It named Executive Vice-President of Canal+ Group, Head of Pay-TV, as Chief Executive Officer of Canal+ Group and appointed Grégoire Castaing, Chief Financial Officer of Canal+ Group, to the Canal+ Group Management Board.

Vincent Bollore, chairman of Vivendi, had reportedly suggested he wanted to shut down the satirical TV show, featuring puppets of everyone from presidents to sports stars. Bollore, who owns 15 percent of Vivendi and is the chairman of the group, said in a separate statement the Guignols programme was an important part of the company’s history. “It is out of the question that we would deprive the company of this jewel, which is the group’s property, but the management of Canal+ and Vivendi will have to decide under which format and when the programme will be broadcast,” a spokesman for Bollore said.

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