This is the second in a 3-part mini-blog series (the first on Patrice Roy, this one on Charles Lafortune, and the next one on their one-on-one intimate conversation when they say down together for a meal on the radio program “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté”.
Interesting factoid: For several years running now (including this past year), studies have shown that people across Canada continue to remained glued to their television, and to television programs. This comes despite an enormous uptick in the space the internet takes in the lives of people across the country. For many under 40’s, television has simply moved from the box sitting in the corner of their living room, to the small screen sitting on their lap.
What has remained consistent these past years is the amount of time per week Québécois continue to watch television. Québec watches more television per week than anywhere else in Canada (sometimes only an hour more than the next ranked province, but Québec continues to watch the most television nonetheless). Canadians can expect to spend a quarter of their week, and a quarter of their lives watching television, and that is more true than ever in Québec (CRTC figures).
What this means is that Québec knows its television personalities very very well. I could probably even go as far to say that they see and follow the lives of television personalities just as much (and dare I say perhaps even more) than certain family members.
Charles Lafortune : One person who occupies a big place in some of Québec’s favorite television programs is Charles Lafortune.
My earliest memories of seeing Charles Lafortune come from when I was a teenager and he was an actor in the very popular former program Watatatow (an after-school youth TV show which could be considered Québec’s own equivalent of Anglophone Canada’s former iconic program “Degrassi Junior High”. – On that point, I have friends who live on Degrassi Street in Toronto. The first time I was invited to their home last fall, it came to me with “shock and horror” that there actually was NO high school, or any kind of school on Degrassi Street !! I drove up and down the street twice, and nope… I couldn’t find the school! I bet you 80% of Anglophone Canada would be just as surprised as I was 😉 ).
Lafortune has since appeared as the main figure in a good number of other very popular television programs with varying degrees of notoriety. He has appeared in such a variety of programs that he has become an instantly recognizable personality anywhere in Québec and in other Francophone areas of Canada.
A few programs in particular are largely responsible for Lafortune’s high-level notoriety:
- L’École des Fans (School of Fans) was an on-air children’s sing-along program on the TVA television network for 5 years in the 2000’s. You might ask “What’s the big deal about a children’s sing-along show?” Well, this one came with a twist, which drew in adult viewership numbers by the drove… The shows featured individual children singing their favorite pop-songs, but then had the actual music star join the child on stage, and sing with them. Over the years, such large names as Celine Dion, Marjo, Lara Fabien, Garou, and Mitsou appeared on the show, singing hand-in-hand with the kids.
- Le Cercle (The Circle) was a popular TVA network gameshow which ran for 6 years, which relied on rapid-fire responses from the players.
- Catherine was a popular Radio-Canada sitcom which ran from 1999 to 2003. Lafortune played the ex-boyfriend of the show’s main figure
- La Voix: Just as Anglophone Canada and other countries often feature more than one popular singing talent show at any given time (example: the “– Idol”, “ – Got Talent”, “The Voice –“ programs), so does Québec. Since 2013, Charles Lafortune has been Québec’s host of TVA’s “La Voix” (The Voice) – which was adapted from the Dutch version of the same program. Home viewer numbers of La Voix are huge in Québec; sometimes ranking among the largest TV viewership numbers in all of Canada – surpassing 2,500,000 viewers for certain episodes!! (By any standards, those are large numbers of Québec eyes focused squarely on Lafortune!).
Apart from the above, Charles Lafortune has also been a popular radio host on CKOI Montréal (a very popular Montréal radio station), and has been a subject of superstar gossip tabloid magazines over the years.
The next post will give a bit of a summary of what thoughts were exchanged with Charles Lafortune met Patrice Roy. See you soon!
MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES