ZDF, Europe Image buy 'Montalbano'

ROME — Top-rated Italo skein “Inspector Montalbano,” based on the global bestseller featuring an earthy Sicilian sleuth, has been sold by RAI to Teutonic pubcaster ZDF and to Gaul’s Europe Image Intl.

The deals, which will bring 10 episodes of the foodie Mafia-fighting cop to auds in two key European territories, were announced on Monday by RAI Trade, just as shooting kicks off on the Sicilian coast on four new installments in the popular series starring A-list Italo thesp Luca Zingaretti.

German TV homes will soon get “Montalbano” on generalist ZDF. Under RAI Trade’s agreement with Europe Image Intl. the show will also likely land on Gallic pubcaster France Television after some cable and satellite play, said RAI Trade sales chief Sesto Cifola.

Since its 1999 inception “Montalbano” has sold to some 50 broadcasters worldwide and done brisk biz on DVD outside Italy. But its generalist TV penetration remains scarce outside Italy where rerun episodes about this small-town cop, who is unmarried and loves to cook, reap record-breaking results.

“Montalbano” reruns lately on RAI have been going head-to-head in primetime with the latest “House” on Mediaset.

Meanwhile “Il Campo del vasaio,” the new book in the Montalbano series penned by Andrea Camilleri, and published in English by Penguin, has just leaped to the top of Italy’s bestseller list.

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