Italian TV fare fizzles at Mediaset

Canale 5 turning to American shows

Buy American — quick!

That’s the message Italy’s Mediaset is sending after a season of locally made TV flops brought down the ratings at its flagship channel Canale 5.

Mediaset needs “some good American series,” says VP Piersilvio Berlusconi.

Canale 5 has been hemorrhaging viewers amid the failure of high-profile new series including hospital drama “Crimini bianchi,” medical comedy “Medici miei” and variety show “Fantasia.”

At last week’s launch of Mediaset’s pay TV children’s channel, Berlusconi fils responded to critics with a frank admission: “It’s not been a good season. We’ve not been giving the viewers what they want.”

And what Canale 5’s relatively young audience wants, he says, are U.S. shows.

Canale 5 has nearly twice as many 15- to 34- year-olds as rival pubcaster channel RAI 1.

A Mediaset spokeswoman tells Variety that Berlusconi sees the quality of American TV as the key to higher ratings, but that there are no new buys firmed up yet.

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