In an effort to boost lagging subscriptions, the Canal Plus group is to reshuffle the top management of its eponymous French movie channel.

According to French daily Le Monde, comedian and film producer Dominique Farrugia, who founded and currently heads Pathe's cable and satellite channel Comedie, would be called in by Pierre Lescure to devise a rejuvenated programming strategy.

The channel's deputy general manager Michel Denisot and current director of programmes Alexandre Drubigny would step down, to be replaced by a new three-pronged management, which would include, along with Farrugia, Bibiane Godfroy, currently Canal Plus group's deputy general manager in charge of channels and services and Pascal Somarriba, recnetly poached from Universal's French cable and satellite channel 13eme Rue.

In a separate development, the Lagardere group, which owns a 34% stake in Canal Plus' digital satellite platform CanalSatellite, has denied being in negotiation with Vivendi to acquire the French channel, but confirmed it was close to selling its 27.4% participation in MultiThematiques, the company which groups Canal Plus' and Lagardere's themed cable and satellite channels.