Denis Lévesque, the end of popular television

It is a popular television style associated with the public, which fades in the blink of an eye with the disconnection of Denis Lévesque’s daily show on LCN and TVA.

Posted at 06:00.

This eclectic set, which welcomed as many stars, hyper-colored characters as all Mr. and Mrs., will leave the broadcast on Thursday, May 19 at 8:00 pm after 16 years of broadcasting and more than 3,000 episodes per hour.

And that’s a shame. Few presenters on traditional channels invite so-called ordinary people to their group. We prefer analysts, former politicians or licensed experts to the detriment of “ordinary citizens who experience real problems and live with the consequences of these problems,” notes Denis Lévesque.

Trained on AM radio in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, Denis Lévesque has always opened his studio to those who have shunned traditional media. He could talk about the Maltese baby who was raped by a neighbor, a lady from Roxton-Pond who died in a knife-throwing game, or a 27-year-old young woman from Quebec who got a mechanical heart because she drank too much. drinks.

At the same time, the all-rounder Denis Lévesque attended the trial of Guy Turcotte, delved into the Cédrika Provencher case and interviewed Larry King or Charles Aznavour. Everything with his honest, straightforward and ironic style that has made his mark.


Denis Lévesque with Tristan Laflamme-Millette, invited to talk about the “shaved heads” challenge in 2012.

Yes the humorists laughed at the crazy guests who confessed absurd things in front of Denis Lévesque. The shots around him do not offend him and he still laughs at the imitation he makes of Marc Labrèche. “Marc, he made the character evolve. “It was not enough to say: ‘Tonight, I’m getting a Martian,'” said Denis Lévesque, 63, in a 13-year relationship with Pascale Wilhelmy.

Denis Lévesque knows very well the character of Denis Lévesque. In May 2016, when he hosted speaker Jani Barré, he played the game thoroughly by introducing his guest as “a former alcoholic lesbian in a wheelchair, who suffers from a rare disease which has caused 157 fractures that “from her birth, which led her to a severe depression from which she escaped by becoming a comedian.”

Of course he deliberately smeared it with such thick butter. You better write the parody yourself, right? “I had fun with him. Myself [Jani Barré] he described himself that way in his book, ”laughs Denis Lévesque.

If Denis Lévesque removes the wound, it is because of the pandemic, which has exhausted him. Interviews at Larger without human contact, numerous technical defects and COVID-19, which has monopolized the news in the last two years, have dampened the enthusiasm of the Roberval-born journalist.

“We had planned and thought that our program would be more diverse in terms of subjects. But with COVID-19, there was only one topic. »

The first year of the pandemic was painful. Even the second. After Christmas, I no longer wanted to go back to work. I have friends who are dead or sick, that puts things in perspective. I am no longer in a period of my career where I like to make myself sweat.

Denis Levesque

It was at TQS that Denis Lévesque became a big star on the small screen. In the early 2000s, he was heating up the 22:30 debates that followed. The Great Gazette. These highly viewed ideas clashed even overwhelmed the conversations Find out who will be coming tonight? by Josélito Michaud on TVA.

Screenshot in TEL-QUEBEC

Marc Labrèche in one of his parodies of Denis Lévesque and Pascale Wilhelmy

Then, in the summer of 2005, TQS recruited Isabelle Maréchal to take the reins of History of the attic 2 and bastards The Great Gazette and Denis Levesque. This mix of genres irritated Denis Lévesque, who did not want to “read the news with his daughter loft history “I mentioned the TQS speaker’s frustrations in this column, and his phone rang immediately: it was TVA news vice president Serge Fortin who was opening the red carpet.

Before slipping into his chair at LCN on April 17, 2006, Denis Lévesque spent a week on CNN bonsai in New York. It was also an American consultant who suggested he end each of his shows with a firm gesture, that of turning off the lights by snapping his fingers.

Today, networks would no longer broadcast fierce confrontations like at the time The big newspaper and TQS, believes Denis Lévesque. “Everyone is afraid of controversy. If you make direct debates, it can be extremely confusing. Previously, you could release one and it was not that bad. “Today, the culprit must flag himself in the following hours”, he notes.

And getting people who have no TV experience is even more complex. “On modern television, everything is formatted, in 4K, with a lot of technical concerns about the image. There are interview concepts in Tempo shelters or at a pace. But this is not an interview. “You just have to sit in front of someone and find time to talk to them, that’s all,” said Denis Lévesque, who still works without a teleprompter.

When he arrived at LCN, Denis Lévesque was producing 225 one-hour shows a year. It has reduced its annual cadence to about 150.

For 16 years we have been a talk show without an orchestra, without an audience and even without a cameraman. All cameras were operated by robots. In short, it was a nice, good and cheap talk show for the company.

Denis Levesque

Denis Lévesque does not leave LCN in grief, on the contrary. His bosses understood his decision to slow down and offered him to host 25 key interviews to celebrate the LCN’s 25th anniversary in September.

Even before social networks existed, Denis Lévesque and his team understood the concepts of virality and hooks. “After the break I take what you knew as a lesbian in a wheelchair, a former alcoholic suffering from a rare disease that caused 157 fractures, a former depressive and humorous, has now become a boxer and marathoner”!

Honestly, who does not want to watch this segment?

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