Disney-Loving Frenchman Looks to Reinvigorate KCET

LA Times TV reporter Scott Collins shared an intriguing look over the weekend at Dominique Bigle, the 60-year-old Gallic media investor who is hoping to fill the PBS void at KCET. The newly independent outlet definitely needs him; according to figures quoted by Collins, the station averaged just 10,000 viewers last month at any given time of the day, a 52% drop from the same period a year ago. (Prime time ratings were down 41%.)

The intriguing genealogy here is that Disney courses through Bigle’s veins. His father, journalist Armand Bigle, switched after World War II to a career overseeing the company’s European expansion, and son later followed suit, after initially studying law:

Bigle joined Disney in 1973. At first he was helping the company find and develop European musical acts, but he branched out into TV and home video, including the launch of Le Disney Channel across Europe. Meanwhile, he said, he cultivated ties with the company’s executives back in Burbank, including then-Chief Executive Michael Eisner

“I grew up with all the animators, the people who were drawing the Mickey Mouse magazine and the merchandising,” Bigle recalled. “To me, Disney is my second family, really.”

Bigle went on to found distribution firm United Communications and moved to LA in 1998 after selling his company to Vivendi. In 2007, he was left an inheritance by his father and is now set to power KCET under the aegis of Eyetronics Media and Studios.

Previously on FishbowlLA:
KCET Announces Five New Shows for 2012