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“The strength of the “12 Coups de midi” is its constant evolution”

Program director of Endemol for a year, Matthieu Bayle takes us behind the scenes of “12 Coups de midi”, the TF1 game which celebrates its 12th anniversary this month.

If I asked you to summarize the main points that have made “Les 12 Coups de midi” evolve?

First, it’s a program that is totally in tune with its target. The schedule and the incarnation by Jean-Luc Reichmann speak to the public of between 11 a.m. and noon present every day on TF1. The immense strength of the “12 Coups de midi” is its constant evolution. At first, we will say that it was a game concept that has become over the years a real complete entertainment. We television producers are used to saying: it’s the only daily that is produced as a prime time. If you look at daily life today, there are a number of happenings, events, interventions, passing guests, recorded video messages, all pushed by Jean-Luc and the teams working on them, who make us witness a total spectacle, which has gained in thickness in a spectacular way over the years. It’s a rhythm, a format and a permanent adaptation that make it ever more attractive.

Who prepares the questions and how?

There is a whole team that takes care of it, made up of an editor who works with an assistant, and editors, about fifteen I believe. Their charge is precise. As there are money gains at stake, we don’t ask just any question, and we check all the answers… And then, we have to succeed in formulating each question correctly. They are bordered. Each writer has a contract, a deal based on the number of questions to write. It’s a demanding and complicated job that requires us to have a high turnover. You can’t spend eight hours every day writing 30 questions! We therefore rotate the teams of writers, who feed a colossal database.

How often do you shoot the shows?

We record about five a day, depending on Jean-Luc Reichmann’s availability. They are generally shot between three and six days in a row, that is to say about thirty daily. These are shootings made by color, each one feeding such or such date of diffusion on the antenna. Depending on the vagaries (particularly efficient midday masters), we have filming sessions approximately every three weeks. If it is further apart, the sessions are more ambitious, going up to ten days. They are then more tiring for the teams. But roughly speaking, we don’t have that much of a lead.

How are the roles divided between Endemol and Jean-Luc Reichmann?

Jean-Luc is co-producer of the show. The primes are a little different because they are more ambitious, but for each new daily session, Jean-Luc will give us a point, for example that this yellow star would be better in pink. We are going to talk about guests, programming… In addition, the dailies are linked to the ephemerides. We know that such and such a date corresponds to such and such a party, it allows us to bring up themes and it also means that this program sticks more or less with a form of news for the people who watch it. And that is very important.

What cements the atmosphere within the team?

Two things. First success. We unite people very easily when they have the feeling of participating in something that works and is very popular. The other secret is that these people have been working together for many years, there is a real professional bond, almost friendly between everyone. And all of that pulls the game up. And then, too, it’s a fun show to do and watch. Finally, Jean-Luc handles this with great professionalism. He knows how to fire any wood from the smallest detail. He is truly an exceptional facilitator. It is even a problem for a producer. We make programs that last 46 to 47 minutes on the air. Sometimes they take up to 1h15, 1h20 on set! It is often death in the soul that must then be cut…

How do you select candidates?

A casting cell works on it all year round. We receive a lot of unsolicited applications. We therefore pass general culture tests of all difficulties beforehand. Each participant has completed them, which allows us to know in which global level to place each one. This is of course hypothetical, since these questions are not those of the show. But it still gives a little information on the level of knowledge of the different candidates. We thus have a reserve of participants framed according to their strength. Afterwards, we harmonize the rounds of table (age, men and women, etc.) with different profiles, people who perform better than others, but that’s part of the game.

What values ​​do you want to convey through this program?

It must be dynamic, funny, lively, benevolent. I do this job for these reasons. The vision I have of TV is that people need comfort in this anxiety-provoking time. Television is a window that will bring them smiles, the opportunity to think about something else, allow them to have fun. If we already manage to fulfill this function, I have done my job. Because the reality is to bring pleasure to people.


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