Apostrophes (talk show)
Apostrophes was a live, weekly, literary, prime-time, talk show on French television created and hosted by Bernard Pivot. It ran for fifteen years (724 episodes) from January 10, 1975 to June 22, 1990, and was one of the most watched shows on French television (around 6 million regular viewers). It was broadcast on Friday nights on the channel France 2 (which was called "Antenne 2" from 1975–1992).
|Created by||Bernard Pivot|
|Presented by||Bernard Pivot|
|Theme music composer||Sergei Rachmaninoff|
|Opening theme||Piano Concerto No. 1|
|Country of origin||France|
|No. of episodes||724|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original network||France 2|
|Original release||January 10, 1975– June 22, 1990|
The hourlong show was devoted to books, authors and literature. The format varied between one-on-one interviews with a single author and open discussions between four or five authors. Notable authors who appeared on the show included: Vladimir Nabokov, Norman Mailer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Marguerite Yourcenar, Susan Sontag, Neil Sheehan, Milan Kundera, Georges Simenon, William Styron, John Le Carré, Tom Wolfe, Umberto Eco, Marguerite Duras. Charles Bukowski's appearance on the show (22 September 1978) is famous for his being visibly drunk, insulting the host and walking off in the midst of the broadcast. The show also invited political figures (Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the Dalai Lama, Robert Badinter, François Mitterrand), intellectuals, historians, sociologists (Pierre Bourdieu, Claude Lévi-Strauss), actors and directors (Marcello Mastroianni, Roman Polanski, François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard) to discuss their books and literature.
At the end of each broadcast, Bernard Pivot traditionally asked his guests to answer the Proust Questionnaire. (Inspired by Pivot, James Lipton, the host of the U.S. TV program Inside the Actors Studio, gives an adapted version of the Proust Questionnaire to some of his guests.)
An appearance on Apostrophes could bring on several thousand copies in book sales, according to book trade sources. In 1982, French writer Régis Debray accused Pivot of having "a virtual dictatorship over publishing markets."
Apostrophes replaced, in 1975, Italiques and was replaced by the show Bouillon de culture (which debuted on 12 January 1991), produced by Bernard Pivot, who wanted to develop a show which featured more than just literary cultural topics.
The show won Best Cultural or Artistic show (Meilleure émission culturelle ou artistique) in 1985 and 1987, and Best Producer (Meilleur producteur de télévision) for Bernard Pivot in 1985 at the "7 d'Or" (French television awards organized by Télé 7 Jours).
- Portions of this article are based on the equivalent article from the French Wikipedia, retrieved on April 27, 2012.
- Rone Tempest, "Host Bows Out of French Literary Talk Show 'Apostrophes'", Los Angeles Times, September 05, 1989.
- "French TV Show on Books Is Ending", Reuters, The New York Times, September 05, 1989.
- Roger Cohen, "The Media Business; Books Star on TV, but Only in France", The New York Times, September 10, 1990.
- Howard Sounes, Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life, Grove Press: 1998, ISBN 0-8021-3697-4, pp. 182-3.