ROME – Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset has fired a “spoiler salvo” against Rupert Murdoch’s Sky in Italy by allegedly revealing the winner of the MasterChef finale that will air tomorrow on Sky’s Sky Uno channel, sparking tensions between the two broadcasters.
Mediaset made the unusual move during last night’s “Striscia La Notizia” news satire show which airs on its flagship Canale 5 station, one of its free-to-air generalist channels.
On Tuesday, prior to the primetime show, Mediaset issued a press release and ran a social media campaign anticipating the fact that they would reveal the MasterChef Italia finale winner on “Striscia,” which is suffering a ratings erosion.
Sky Italia today (Wednesday) issued a statement saying their legal team is considering legal action.
They also played up the menial nature of Mediaset’s ratings-boosting ploy. “We believe the main theme is to underscore how what happened risks opening a door which until now has been kept closed by all media companies in Italy and internationally,” Murdoch’s pan-European pay-TV satcaster said.
“MasterChef” is produced in Italy by Zodiak Media-owned company Magnolia, which pre-records the show.
The “MasterChef Italia” semifinal pulled a record 1.3 million viewers on Sky Uno where the show has scored as high as a 5 percent audience share, which is stellar for the paybox. The Mediaset spoiler sparked a Twitter frenzy in Italy, one of the main topics being a debate on whether the Mediaset spoiler will hurt ratings for Thursday’s airing of the finale, or instead boost them.
“It’s not worth commenting…” Tweeted Sky Italy’s content chief Andrea Scrosati. “It reminds me of a guy who used to go and scream: ‘Keyser Soze is the guy with the limp’ in front of movie theatres showing ‘The Usual Suspects.'”