French President Emmanuel Macron’s primetime address Monday, in which he apologized for the country’s failings in handling the coronavirus crisis, shattered television ratings records, with an unprecedented 35+ million viewers. The massive number represents 86.6% of the country tuning in on TV.
TF1 was the most-watched channel with nearly 13 million viewers. France 2 and M6 followed with 9.55 and 3.74 million viewers, respectively, according to Statista.
During his speech Monday from the Elysée Palace in Paris, Macron apologized for his government “not being prepared enough” for the coronavirus crisis and announced that the shelter at home lockdown, which began on March 17, would extend until May 11.
“We must therefore continue our efforts and continue to apply the rules,” he said, while promising that “joyous days were ahead.”
Monday’s speech drew the highest numbers for a speech by Macron since the 2018 Yellow Vests crisis, which drew 23 million total viewers. The next highest TV ratings in France came during The Euro 2000 final between France and Italy, which drew 21.4 million viewers, and the 1998 World Cup final, which drew 20.6 million.
President Trump has bragged about his own ratings for the daily briefings by his coronavirus task force, which have drawn an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of The Bachelor season finale.
Just days before the televised address, Macron was caught on camera in a heated exchange with a medical worker shortly before he was to take part in a public appearance with health professionals.
Elysée Palace first shared footage of Macron applauding the workers as he stood alongside them. That was followed by a second video that had been shared by a healthcare workers union and had gone viral, showing an angry exchange between Macron and the worker over a lack of resources and staff.
To date, the coronavirus has claimed 15,729 lives in France.
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