Made-for on John Paul sets Italo TV record

ROME — Airing in Italy two weeks after John Paul II’s death and as Benedict XVI is elected, Papal biopic “Karol” is scoring record-breaking primetime ratings for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s broadcaster Mediaset.

The first segment of the two-part mini about Karol Wojtyla’s life before he became John Paul II tallied a 44% primetime audience share on flagship web Canale 5 Monday evening. It was up against a special on the start of the conclave to elect a new pontiff on pubcaster RAI’s RAI-1, which drew a mere 14% audience share.

Rating is the highest ever for the first night of an Italo drama, according to Mediaset.

Produced by Pietro Valsecchi’s Taodue, the E10 million ($13 million) “Karol” is helmed by local telepic specialist Giacomo Battiato and shot in John Paul II’s native Poland.

Young Wojtyla is played by Polish thesp Piotr Adamczck. Music is by Ennio Morricone.

Part one of “Karol” aired as Italians and Catholics around the world awaited a puff of white smoke from the Sistine Chapel’s chimney signaling the choice of a new pope.

On Tuesday, the second part of “Karol” was preceded by a Mediaset special about German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI earlier in the day.

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