Exodus on as TMC switches gears

Web director Giovalli, news topper Lerner ankle

MILAN — Two more execs ankled debt-ridden network TeleMonteCarlo (TMC) after last week’s revelation that it will be relaunched as a low-budget news web rather than a youth-skewed channel.

Web director Roberto Giovalli and head of news Gad Lerner quit Wednesday. Presenter Fabio Fazio has already left and more resignations are expected.

Seat Pagine Gialle bought terrestrial network TMC from Vittorio Cecchi Gori last year. SPG, the multimedia arm of telco Telecom Italia, renamed the web La7 and kicked cash and new talent into the channel to relaunch it this month.

But in August, cable and tire giant Olivetti and textile group Benetton launched a hostile takeover of Telecom Italia, including La7. The new shareholders said last week that SPG lost $65 million in the first half of the year compared with a small profit a year earlier, mostly because of the acquisition of TMC-La7.

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