ROME — As the Vatican gears up for the 2000 Holy Year Jubilee and a flood of religious pilgrims expected to descend on Rome for the accompanying celebrations, flagship Italian pubcaster RAI 1 is preparing to take up its role as “the Jubilee network,” with sanctity and family-values fare the order of the day.
But as they sipped their morning cappuccini Tuesday, RAI 1 viewers got an eyeful of entertainment that was anything but holy when a soft-core Western inadvertently was aired.
“And now to liven up your morning, a nice Western,” said the channel announcer at 10 a.m. as a way of introduction to the film, a 1995 U.S. production titled “Hard Bounty,” directed by Jim Wynorski, and starring Mark McCoy, Rochelle Swanson and Kelly Le Brock.
Replete with generous helpings of T&A and the kind of heated saddle action John Wayne never saw, the film started a wave of calls among viewers that sent RAI’s morning-audience figures spiraling upward until station management abruptly pulled the plug halfway through the steamy saloon drama.
The order to interrupt the broadcast came from RAI 1 director Agostino Sacca, who released a brief statement saying: “This was a regrettable programming error. We apologize.” The film had been misclassified in the RAI library as suitable for all audiences.