Showbizzers Face-Off In Italo Elections

Silvio Berlusconi, Beppe Grillo Emerge in Deadlocked Vote

ROME — Italians awoke to the prospect of political deadlock Tuesday after a national vote in which two very different showbizzers emerged as winners: TV mogul Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, a standup comic with an anti-establishment platform propagated via social media and live appearances in the country’s piazzas.
While neither man won the elections, both bested pollster predictions and Grillo’s web-driven Five Star movement came from nowhere to become the biggest single party in the lower house with 25% of the vote and 23% in the upper house.
Berlusconi, the former prime minister who was considered politically defunct until recently, staged a stunning comeback thanks to a TV blitz in which he promised practically impossible tax cuts.
Berlusconi’s center-right coalition has 29% of the lower house and 30% of the upper house, about one percentage point less than the center-left bloc of Pier Luigi Bersani, which is not expected to have sufficient parliamentary seats in the upper house to govern alone.
On Monday, as the first electoral results came in, shares in Berlusconi’s Mediaset rose as much as 10%. They were down Tuesday as Italy’s instability rattled markets.
But the broadcaster’s stock price has gained about 60% since Berlusconi threw his hat back in the ring late last year, underscoring the impact of his political influence on his company’s balance sheet.
Grillo ruled ratings on pubcaster RAI until the mid-1980s when he was banned from TV for cracking a joke about Socialist prime minister Bettino Craxi being a thief.
His newfound success is driven by tirades on his blog against political and corporate corruption and a pro clean energy and free Internet campaign. Top of Grillo’s agenda is a conflict of interest law that would force Berlusconi to either put Mediaset in a blind trust or leave politics.

More TV

  • Sonia Saraiya's Top 25 Shows of

    Sonia Saraiya's Top 25 Shows of 2017

    ROME — Italians awoke to the prospect of political deadlock Tuesday after a national vote in which two very different showbizzers emerged as winners: TV mogul Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, a standup comic with an anti-establishment platform propagated via social media and live appearances in the country’s piazzas. While neither man won the elections, […]

  • Nick Stoller

    Nick Stoller Inks Multi-Year Overall Deal With Sony Pictures Television

    ROME — Italians awoke to the prospect of political deadlock Tuesday after a national vote in which two very different showbizzers emerged as winners: TV mogul Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, a standup comic with an anti-establishment platform propagated via social media and live appearances in the country’s piazzas. While neither man won the elections, […]

  • CW - EA MADDEN NFL 18

    CW, EA Team on 'Madden NFL 18' eSports 'Survivor'-Style Special for TV

    ROME — Italians awoke to the prospect of political deadlock Tuesday after a national vote in which two very different showbizzers emerged as winners: TV mogul Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, a standup comic with an anti-establishment platform propagated via social media and live appearances in the country’s piazzas. While neither man won the elections, […]

  • Facebook - tv academy emmys 2017

    70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Date Announced

    ROME — Italians awoke to the prospect of political deadlock Tuesday after a national vote in which two very different showbizzers emerged as winners: TV mogul Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, a standup comic with an anti-establishment platform propagated via social media and live appearances in the country’s piazzas. While neither man won the elections, […]

  • Homeland Season 6 finale

    'Homeland' Season 7 Sets Premiere Date, Drops First Trailer

    ROME — Italians awoke to the prospect of political deadlock Tuesday after a national vote in which two very different showbizzers emerged as winners: TV mogul Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, a standup comic with an anti-establishment platform propagated via social media and live appearances in the country’s piazzas. While neither man won the elections, […]

  • Chris Hardwick David X Cohen

    Chris Hardwick, David X. Cohen Team for Museum Comedy in Development at NBC

    ROME — Italians awoke to the prospect of political deadlock Tuesday after a national vote in which two very different showbizzers emerged as winners: TV mogul Silvio Berlusconi and Beppe Grillo, a standup comic with an anti-establishment platform propagated via social media and live appearances in the country’s piazzas. While neither man won the elections, […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content