Tokyo 2020. For France Télévisions, “the challenge is to make people forget that a virus is disrupting these Olympics” – Tokyo 2020

What is France Télévisions’ system for these games?

The key is to go to the big events and the events where the French can shine. We don’t want to miss a single medal! We will be live from midnight until 4 p.m., on France 2 and France 3, and from 4 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. we will offer a replay and a magazine. In addition, team sports will be broadcast on France 4. And all the events will be viewable live and in replay on our site.

How are you going to adapt to being in camera?

It will be new Games… It will be seen more in certain events, such as athletics. It is certain that the atmosphere will be different. This is a very important issue for us. There will not be a real soundtrack of encouragement but a light background sound to prevent the stadium from sounding hollow.

The challenge for us is to make people forget that there is a virus that disrupts these Games. The emotion of sport must take the place of covid. You have to look to the traditional emotions that you feel when you watch sports: the commentators will not be constantly explaining that the Games are different or that they are sad because of the camera. Especially since viewers have become accustomed to seeing sport without spectators, we have seen it in football in particular.

But how do you bring the thrill of the Games to life without spectators?

By focusing on the discipline, on the issues, by telling the stories of the athletes. There will be competition, achievements, disappointments, surprises and great stories, and that is what we will focus on. When Teddy Riner wins his third gold medal, everyone will forget about the pandemic and the fact that there is no one in the room!

Laurent-Eric Le Lay heads the sports department of France Télévisions. (Â © GUYON Nathalie / FTV)

Will the achievement be different?

It is a subsidiary of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which produces all the disciplines. We add a francization of the signal: in athletics, for example, we have a camera to film the first tests of the French or their qualifications, which will not necessarily appear in the international signal.

Have you lightened your device?

There were around 300 of us in Rio, there will be between 150 and 200 in Tokyo, including 80 journalists and consultants. We knew that we would have to leave people in Paris, but we didn’t want that to have consequences on the air. We are not going to comment on the Games in the cabin from Paris! We also wanted to have a platform on site, at the France club, to interview the athletes after their events. We do not do the same quality of remote interview via software, we forge links by being together on a set.

Are you ready to adapt to any last minute changes?

Our watchword is to be as flexible as possible: we may have to change our system if an event is postponed, for example. The situation is completely new so it is full of question marks. It is natural to be worried but I trust the CIO. They will take the necessary measures and they are capable of delivering great Games. I am hopeful that everything will turn to sport: tears, joys, victories, medals!

What audiences do you expect?

I am not worried about the hearings. We will have fewer viewers at night, but we will have a better market share! Above all, we will count the “reach”: the number of different French people who have watched the Olympic Games at least once.

Jet lag is not in your favor …

It will be worse in Los Angeles, with the 100-meter final at 4 a.m. There, the prime time will take place in the late morning, early afternoon. So we can sleep and enjoy these Games!

All the news of the Tokyo Olympics

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