Zone Interdite (TV program)

Zone Interdite
Created by Patrick de Carolis
Presented by

Wendy Bouchard

Former presenters
Patrick de Carolis (1993-1997), Florence Dauchez (1997-1998), Bernard de la Villardière (1998-2005), Anne-Sophie Lapix (2005-2006), Mélissa Theuriau (2006-2012)
Country of origin France
No. of episodes 19 seasons
Running time 120 minutes
Production company(s) M6 (TV channel)
Original network M6
Original release 7 March 1993 (1993-03-07) – present
External links

Zone interdite is a French newsmagazine that has been broadcast since 7 March 1993 on M6, the second-most watched TV network in the French-speaking world. Well known for its investigative journalism, the show has long been considered one of the most influential in France and has been awarded the 7 d'or (France's most prestigious TV award) for best newsmagazine on TV.[1] It is currently presented by Wendy Bouchard.


Zone Interdite (often nicknamed Zone) is broadcast on M6 once every two weeks on Sunday prime time, and the following Tuesday at night. Summer shows are broadcast on a different schedule in July and August.

Format and public

Each episode features several investigative journalism reports, each one followed by a panel featuring experts, lawmakers, interviewees etc. who discuss the issue the report deals with.

The idea behind the show is best defined by its name: Zone Interdite meaning Forbidden Zone in French. It deals with the most important and sensitive social and political issues of the time, in order to give the public the best possible insight and to drive general and political attention on them.


With an average of 3 to 5 million viewers and an average of 10% to 30% of the target market shares per episode,[2] it is one of the most-watched newsmagazines on French TV.[3]

Influence in France

With its large public, sensitive topics[4] and high-end panels,[5] Zone Interdite has forged itself a reputation of secret-breaker and debate-setter and is widely considered one of France's most influential TV show.

Zone Interdite is famous for being the first French TV show ever to expound anorexia and its dangers[6] at a time the mental illness was almost unknown to the general public.

It was also instrumental in putting road traffic safety[7] into national debate in the early 2000s, which has led to a complete re-writing of the French road safety laws in 2002 and 2007.

It has also been at the edge of such sensitive social issues as Prostitution,[8] Poverty,[9] Cults[10] and Right to housing, driving public, media and political attention to these issues at a time they were not properly addressed by policymakers.


The show was created by famous French journalist Patrick de Carolis and was first aired on 7 March 1993. At that time Carolis - who later become CEO of France Television - was M6's Head of Programming.

Starting in December 1995, the show was broadcast every two weeks, instead of once a month.

In June 1999, 7.5 million people watched the special show about prostitution, which has been considered as a starting point for France's renewed lawmaking on the issue.

In 2000, the show was awarded the 7 d'or (France's most prestigious TV award) for best newsmagazine on TV.

In 2002, Zone Interdite celebrated its 200th show, in 2003, its 10 years on air, in 2008 its 15th anniversary. In 2011, it started its 19th season, making it one of the longest running French TV shows.

In 2006, Melissa Theuriau was appointed Zone Interdite's new anchor. The same year, the Daily Express voted her the world's most beautiful news reporter.[11] She was similarly voted "TV's sexiest news anchor" by readers of the US edition of Maxim. In May 2007, she was voted most beautiful woman in the world in the French edition of FHM.


Zone Interdite was presented by:

Notes and references

  1. in French: meilleure emission d'information 2000
  2. Figures season 2009 (fr) ; 27 March 2011: 3.159 millions viewers
  3. poverty, homelessness, prostitution, prisons but also justice, jet-set, housing, motherhood or anorexia are some of the issues the show usually deals with
  4. For instance, in 2003, the then French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin made its only appearance on TV as a Zone panel guest
  5. Extracts from an anorexia special
  6. Extract from a road traffic safety special entitled "Road safety: Are we all outlaws?" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  7. Extract from a show dealing with student prostitutes
  8. Forum on a show about homeless people and poverty
  9. "Moi, plus belle présentatrice du monde? Ridicule!", interview with Mélissa Theuriau, Télé Star, September 2006.
  10. (French) Jean-Michel Maire, « Claire Barsacq remplace Mélissa Theuriau », Le Figaro, October 29, 2008
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