French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin is apparently not amused by his spokesman's decision to take part in a new reality TV programme.
Mr Cope's TV debut may or may not be cancelled
Jean-Francois Cope was supposed to be the subject of the first episode of the show, 36 Hours, in which a politician would spend two days with an ordinary French family.
The private TF1 TV channel says the show, which is due on screen next month, is a way of making politicians seem less remote from disenchanted voters.
But aides to Mr Raffarin said that the prime minister did not "appreciate" this kind of show and thought that "putting politics on stage is counterproductive".
He has strongly urged members of his government not to participate.
"Ministers don't have time to spend 36 hours in front of the cameras. When are they going to get their work done?" a Raffarin aide asked.
A trial episode has already been made, with Justice Ministry state secretary Pierre Bedier spending time with a midwife outside Paris.
Mr Raffarin was reported to be dismayed by the programme, in which Mr Bedier attended two births, and gave one baby its first bath.
France's left-wing opposition and politicians across the political spectrum have also condemned the format.
Socialist leader Francois Hollande described it as "trash TV".
Loft Story caused controversy two years ago
"It's more about knocking politics down than elevating it," he said.
Only maverick left-winger Jack Lang, a former culture minister, has supported the project, describing it as "a new adventure" and "an audacious idea".
It is not yet clear whether Mr Cope will continue with plans to appear in the programme.
This is not the first time that reality TV has caused controversy in France.
Two years ago, demonstrators tried to stop the filming of Loft Story, a hit show reminiscent of the UK's Big Brother in which a group of contestants were encouraged to find a partner from among themselves in order to win a house.
Complaints ranged from disgust at the contestants' naked antics to concerns about their human rights.
Other French reality TV programmes have shown women battling to seduce a millionaire, and a fame academy for young singers.