Gameshow in clone war

Endemol Italia and RAI are taking legal action against Mediaset, claiming the Silvio Berlusconi-controlled commercial broadcaster has illegally cloned its popular “Deal or No Deal” gameshow format, aired locally by the pubcaster.

“Deal or No Deal,” broadcast in some 40 countries around the world, consistently has dominated early evening ratings on weeknights for several years on RAI, where the Endemol-licensed show is known as “Affari Tuoi” (Your Business).

Mediaset on Sunday evening debuted “Fattore C,” a strikingly similar show on its flagship Canale 5. Hosted by popular showman Paolo Bonolis, it won its primetime slot with a 22.5% share.

Bonolis was formerly with RAI, where he hosted “Affari Tuoi.”

New show differs from “Affari Tuoi” mainly in that prizes are concealed in piggy bank-like plaster busts of various notables, such as Karl Marx, rather than in briefcases or boxes that characterize “Deal or No Deal.”

“We sold our format to RAI, so we are very surprised to see it on Mediaset. If copyright laws are not respected, TV becomes a jungle,” Endemol Italia prexy Paolo Bassetti said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment Wednesday from Mediaset.

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