Berlusconi support hits low; 'Torino' helps RAI trounce rivals

Talk about a double whammy.

Just as Silvio Berlusconi‘s approval ratings have plummeted to an all-time low, Mediaset — the Italo TV-mogul-turned prime-minister’s web — is getting trounced in the ratings.

A survey by the SWG research institute published Sept. 26 put support for Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Let’s Go Italy) party at 17.5%, its lowest since Berlusconi took power in 2001, with 29.4% of the vote, as head of a conservative bloc.

At the same time, Mediaset has been stung by a bleak September. Pubcaster RAI, its main rival, has regularly bested the web in primetime, thanks mainly to a new batch of homegrown dramas but also to “Desperate Housewives,” which bowed strongly on RAI-2.

RAI’s historic soccer epic “Il Grande Torino” (The Great Turin) generated more ratings magic than “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” on Mediaset’s Canale 5, and its Sicilian cop saga “Il Commissario Montalbano” made mincemeat of Mediaset’s costume romancer “Elisa di Rivombrosa,” Italy’s top-rated drama in 2004.

Of course, Italo auds decide their tube choices based on what grabs them, not on politics or who runs the station.

But Berlusconi can only hope the malaise doesn’t extend to any of his other holdings, which range from film to finance.

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