13 February, 2009
Pierre Sabbagh was a major personality in French television, journalist, producer and director.
Pierre Alain Sabbagh was born in Lannion (Côtes-d'Armor) and died in Paris. He was son of the artist Georges Hanna Sabbagh and the art historian and resistance heroine Agnès Humbert.
Pierre Sabbagh became a journalist in order to find out what had happened to his mother Agnès in World War II. He had visited her in Fresnes Prison and the Prison de la Santé in 1942, a few days before she was deported by the Nazis, sentenced to slave labour in Germany. In 1944 he travelled into Germany behind the advancing American army, but did not find her until he returned to Paris in 1945.
Pierre Sabbagh presented the first television news in France on 29 June 1949.
His greatest success was the creation, in 1966, of the programme "Au théâtre ce soir" ("Tonight in the Theatre") following a strike on French television and the success of a Belgian television comedy called "La Bonne planque", which provoked the appetite of the public for this kind of programme: over 300 plays were produced in the series. To his credit also is the first audiovisual game which reunited France of the 1960s in front of the black-and-white screen: "L'Homme du XXe siècle" ("Man of the 20th Century"), a game of general cultural questions which went on for many years and which finished with the final "Super homme du XXe siècle" ("Superman of the 20th Century") which brought together all the previous winners of whom the comedian, Robert Manuel, beat a professor of complementary medicine, Georges Rivault.
He was Director-General of the television network France 2 between September 1971 and July 1972.