Interview: Laurent Puons on the 63rd Monte-Carlo Television Festival

Lights, camera, action! The Monte-Carlo Television Festival is coming back to town from June 14th to 28th, celebrating its 63rd anniversary and rolling the red carpet out to a star-studded lineup of international celebrities, who will be sporting their most glamorous regalia and showcasing innovative content. 

This unparalleled event, established by Prince Rainier III in 1961 and held under the Honorary Presidency of Prince Albert II since 1988, has evolved into a cornerstone of the television industry, eagerly anticipated by professionals and the public alike. Prominent studio heads, broadcast networks, digital platforms, and acclaimed actors, producers, directors, and writers convene every year at the Grimaldi Forum to showcase their programs to the media and the public with the goal of expanding their professional network. 

The crowning stroke is the globally-recognised Golden Nymph Awards, considered one of the top distinctions in show business. These awards, spanning three categories: Fiction, News and Documentaries, and the Prince Rainier III Prize, honour excellence in television production. The beautifully crafted statuette was created by Monegasque sculptor François-Joseph Bosio (1768-1845), the original being displayed at the famous Louvre Museum in Paris. 

Monaco Life’s Features Journalist Celina Lafuente de Lavotha interviewed with Laurent Puons, CEO of Mediax, who shared memorable moments and spoke about his excitement at welcoming the best in showbiz this year, from movie icon Morgan Freeman to Bridgerton star Simone Ashley, and many more.

Monaco Life: When did you take the reins of Monaco Mediax?

Laurent Puons: In 2012, I had the honour of assuming company leadership as the CEO of Monaco Mediax. Since then, I have had the mission of guiding the organisation toward accomplishing its goals. 

As the CEO of Monaco Mediax, I oversee a few critical events, including the Monte-Carlo Television Festival, one of our main events of the year. Monaco Mediax, a leading media company, is responsible for organising and managing the Festival, ensuring it continues to be a premier event in the television industry. We also manage other significant events such as SPORTEL: Sportel Monaco, Sportel Awards, and Sportel Rendez-Vous (Bali and Buenos Aires this year). All these events are common threads throughout the year, and our teams are constantly planning for the next edition, striving for continuous improvement and innovation. 

Laurent Puons and Michael Douglas, American actor who received two Academy Awards, five Golden Globes

What are your main objectives for the MCTV Festival?

Our primary objectives for the Monte-Carlo Television Festival centre around promoting excellence within television, providing an international platform to celebrate the talent of professionals, and fostering networking and partnership opportunities for the future of the entertainment industries. We aim to showcase innovative content, facilitate meaningful discussions, and recognise outstanding programming achievements. 

Our Golden Nymph Ceremony each year is a significant event that spotlights quality productions across all genres and honours numerous countries worldwide, giving the Festival an international dimension. The Golden Nymph Awards, considered one of the highest distinctions in the television industry, not only honour the best in three categories: Fiction, News and Documentaries, and the Prince Rainier III Prize, but also signify the international recognition of their work, bringing us all together to celebrate global television excellence. This year, among the 18 programs selected, 13 countries will be honoured.

Who are the celebrities that have left a special memory for you?

Over the years, numerous celebrities have left a lasting impression at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival. Among them are notable figures such as Jerry Bruckheimer, who was honoured with the Crystal Nymph at the 54th Monte- Carlo Television Festival in 2012. He has produced a string of hit movies and television shows over 40 years, collecting more awards than any other producer. 

In 2019, Michael Douglas, Hollywood’s legendary actor, producer and titan, was also honoured with the prestigious Crystal Nymph. The multi-award-winning show The Streets of San Francisco (1972-1976) propelled him into the limelight. Most recently, he starred in the Netflix hit series The Kominsky Method. 

Always at the cutting edge, in 2017, the Festival welcomed Alonso Pedro, the famous actor who starred in Money Heist. In 2018, the globally successful series won the Golden Nymph for Best TV Drama Series at the Festival. 

Over the years, the Monte-Carlo Television Festival has been graced by the presence of numerous internationally renowned celebrities. These include Dame Helen Mirren, Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean, and Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs, among many others. Each celebrity has brought unique talent and perspective to the event, creating unforgettable moments on our Festival’s red carpet. It is difficult to mention all the emotional moments and internationally renowned celebrities who have joined us because there are so many, and more, joining in every year.

Laurent Puons with Monegasque F1 driver Charles Leclerc

What is new for MCTV festival in 2024?

The 63rd edition of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival will be more thrilling than ever. Several new features and highlights, carefully curated to elevate the Festival experience, will demonstrate our commitment to continuous improvement and innovation. From engaging panel discussions and exclusive screenings to interactive workshops and networking events, attendees can look forward to diverse activities that not only celebrate the best of television entertainment but also offer a glimpse into the industry’s exciting future. 

This year, topics focusing on the TV industry will be at the heart of discussions from June 15th to 17th, including Repercussions from the 2023 Strike: Paucity in Content Creation & Production; Bringing the World to Light Through TV Drama; New Formats, Genres & Focus on Local TV Platformization, the process of customizing a platform to suit a business’s need; How AI Tools Can Help with Creation & Distribution; New Narratives for Documentaries: The Blur Between Reality & Fiction; The Value of Marketing in Television; Being a Producer: How do They Manage Ever Increasing Responsibilities; What’s New in International Co-Pros?

Who are the invited celebrities this year?

We are thrilled to welcome a diverse array of renowned celebrities to this year’s Monte-Carlo Television Festival. After Théo Christine in 2022 and Julia de Nunez last year, British actress Simone Ashley, the Netflix series Bridgerton star, will receive the Golden Nymph for Most Promising Talent. This award not only honours the exceptional talent of an emerging and promising actor but also signifies the international recognition of their work, bringing us all together to celebrate global television excellence. 

Following the Opening Ceremony, Prince Albert II of Monaco will present legendary actor and producer Morgan Freeman with the prestigious Crystal Nymph in recognition of the outstanding television career of a world-renowned actor. The Honorary Golden Nymph, the Festival’s highest distinction, awarded to a renowned professional for their extraordinary contribution to the entertainment industry, will be presented to the French actor and director Olivier Marchal (36 Quai des Orfèvres, Ne le dis à personne, Braquo, Bronx) at the Closing Ceremony on Tuesday June 18th. 

This year, the Festival will also include public events for the 50th anniversary of the primetime drama Little House on the Prairie and the 1000th episode of the famous NCIS show. Actors such as Karen Grassle, Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson for Little House on the Prairie, Cote de Pablo, and Michael Weatherly for NCIS will join us at the Festival, each bringing their unique talent and perspective to the event.

Laurent Puons with David Hasselhoff, aka The Hoff, American actor, singer, and TV personality

How are Jury members selected, and who will be part of the star-studded Jury?

Jury members are selected based on their expertise and contributions to the television industry. This year, our esteemed Jury includes David Boreanaz and Steve Anderson, who will preside over the fiction news and documentary juries. In the Fiction jury, we will welcome Danish actor and producer Ulrich Thomsen, award-winning Spanish producer Teresa Fernandez-Valdés, and Spanish producer Piv Bernth, the CEO and creative and executive producer of Apple Tree Productions. The Documentary and News jury includes Italian journalist and RAI 3 director Chiara Avesani; Martina Šantavá, the Czech creative producer; journalist and presenter on CNN Portugal André Carvalho Ramos and Yann-Antony Noghès, the producer of Check Productions from Monaco.

These individuals possess knowledge and experience in television production, direction, acting, and other relevant fields. Their discerning judgment and insights will be crucial in recognising excellence at the Festival.

Which film has been selected for the Opening?

For the Opening of the Festival, we have selected The Gray House for its significant American narrative, but one that resonates globally due to its authentic representation of the sacrifices made for freedom. This spy adventure promises to captivate, enlighten, and motivate audiences. Through the lens of four remarkably courageous women, it paints a vivid picture of love, conflict, historical events, and heartbreak amidst wartime. This captivating film sets the tone for the Festival’s celebrations and exemplifies the creativity and innovation within the television landscape. Many of the stars of The Gray House will attend the glamorous screening, including multiple award-winning Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds, The West Wing), Daisy Head (Harlots), Amethyst Davis (Kindred), and Ben Vereen (Roots), along with executive producers Leslie Greif (Hatfields & McCoys) and Lori McCreary (Madam Secretary).

Please tell us about the charity event organised by Make-A-Wish International during the MCTV Festival. 

Make-A-Wish International will host its inaugural charity event ‘The Night of 100 Stars’ on Sunday June 16th, during the Monte-Carlo Television Festival. They will welcome 100 esteemed guests who share Make-A-Wish’s mission and dedication to transforming the lives of critically ill children from around the world. We are very proud to partner with this event and to be able to support it in our own way for a cause that is dear to us.

This impactful solidarity evening, set against the stunning backdrop of the Monte-Carlo Bay’s Mediterranean Garden, will be co-anchored by model and TV personality Victoria Silvstedt and Dancing with the Stars France winner Maxime Dereymez.  Guests will be treated to a sophisticated cocktail reception, followed by a dinner under the stars. The highlight will be an exceptional performance by The Voice France 2023 contestant Nade.

For more details and to secure your spot, please visit 

Laurent Puons with Dylan McDermott, American actor, producter and director, Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee, at MCTVF

What technological changes have acted as disruptive forces within the television industry over the past ten years that will undoubtedly continue evolving?

Over the past decade, the television industry has witnessed significant technological advancements that have reshaped content production, distribution, and consumption. One of the most critical disruptions has been the rise of streaming services. Platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, OCS, and all the others completely altered people’s viewing habits. With the improvement of global internet coverage and the creation and improvement of connected devices such as smart TVs, smartphones, and tablets, access to this content is more accessible. 

Traditional audiovisual media, such as conventional television, have lost mainly audience share since the arrival of streaming. TV channels, and the audiovisual industry in general, have been forced to adapt to these new viewing habits to remain viable in a rapidly evolving sector.

“The television industry can thrive in an increasingly digital and interconnected world by embracing innovation and adapting to changing trends.”

How do you see the future of the entertainment industry and television specifically?

I see a dynamic future for the entertainment industry, with on-screen content centralising cultural narratives and engaging audiences worldwide. As technology evolves and consumer preferences shift, the entertainment landscape will transform further, offering new opportunities for creativity, storytelling, and audience engagement. The television industry can thrive in an increasingly digital and interconnected world by embracing innovation and adapting to changing trends.

Advances in technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR), are opening new horizons. Imagine watching your favourite series and being able to influence the plot, enter the series’ universe, or interact with the characters through these kinds of immersive experiences. The evolution of these technologies will enable the television sector to develop even further and, above all, offer unprecedented personalisation options. There will be no limits to storytelling, and audiences will be active participants. In other words, television’s future is broader than that of viewing. Soon, we’ll be able to watch, live, connect, and shape the stories we want that define us.

Laurent Puons and Julia De Nunez, French actress, recipient of Golden Nymph 62nd MCTVF

How do you plan to reinvent the TV Festival?

To reinvent the Monte-Carlo Television Festival, we are committed to exploring new avenues for growth and expansion while staying true to our core mission of celebrating excellence in television entertainment. Our strategy includes international expansion through media and VIPs worldwide and our nominated programs. This year, for example, 11 countries are honoured among the 18 programs selected for the Golden Nymphs competition.

We also ensure we improve attendees’ experience, whether professionals or fans. Year after year, innovative topics are the heart of discussions at the Festival’s Business Content, which takes place over three days from Saturday to Monday. As for our public events, we are always looking for the new and the different by continuing to invite prestigious VIPs who are popular with the public. 

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Main photo: Laurent Puons, CEO of Mediax and Cécile Menoni, Executive Director MCTVF. All photos courtesy of MCFTF Mediax