RAI overhauls drama prod’n, acquisition

RAI’s radical reform plan unveiled last week concentrates power over the pubcaster’s TV drama co-production and acquisitions structure in a new mega-department run by Andrea Melodia.

Corridor gossip at RAI has it that none-too-happy network prexies Giovanni Minoli at RAI-2 and Angelo Guglielmi at RAI-3 have already had several confrontations with Melodia.

The entire plan was not immediately available, but Daily Variety obtained an outline of the new department’s functions.

The three RAI webs will oversee early development on drama projects, which they will then hand over to the production department. Melodia and RAI-2 drama production chief Stefano Munafo, who will flank Melodia in running the new department, will then decide whether and how projects will get made.

What is still unknown is just how much control RAI president Claudio Dematte will leave the three network presidents over projects and purchasing in an attempt to soothe riled tempers. The new department will have its budget allocated by the end of this month and becomes operative Jan. 1.

The idea behind centralizing powers in the new department under Melodia is to avoid internal competition among the three webs for projects and scheduling and to strengthen the pubcaster’s international co-productions.

One major objective of the new plan is to keep costs down. The new department will reduce the number of projects commissioned from indie producers and lessen the pubcaster’s dependence on U.S. acquisitions.

Munafo foresees a dramatic shakeup in 1994 in the independent production sector.

The pubcaster will be slashing its production budget, producing more low-cost drama in-house and concentrating the projects it does commission externally into the hands of a few big indies rather than many small ones.

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