×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Featured Player: Lucia Annunziata

RAI's prexy girds up for battle at RAI

MILAN — Italians are still loudly debating pubcaster RAI’s attempts to remove sexy, scantily clad women from its shows.

Network prexy Lucia Annunziata has been roundly criticized by male and female viewers since the beginning of the month when she suggested the half-naked starlets who help to host everything from current affairs programs to gameshows were not an appropriate way to depict women.

“You don’t defend a woman’s dignity by covering her up,” says Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of Italy’s fascist dictator, who was a porn film star before going into politics with the rightwing Alleanza Nazionale.

But Sophia Loren backs the need to limit “soft porn” on RAI. “I have never loved excesses,” she says. “A woman must be discreet and well-educated.”

It’s not the only battle being fought by Annunziata, the 53-year-old journalist appointed as RAI’s “president-guarantor” in March.

She is facing increasingly tricky times as her attempts to lead the pubcaster are hampered by political differences inside and outside the network.

Her predecessor, publisher Paolo Mieli, quit after just five days because of what he termed “political and technical difficulties.” Can Annunziata tough it out?

Her supporters say she is stubborn, straight-forward and determined to save RAI.

Annunziata’s background is impressive. The railwayman’s daughter, who is married to American Washington Post writer Daniel Williams, is a former U.S. correspondent for Italian dailies Manifesto, La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera.

She has collaborated on political talk shows and radio shows for RAI and was director of daily newscast TG3 for three months in 1996.

She was editor-in-chief of AP-Biscom, an Italian news agency that came out of the merger between Associated Press and E-Biscom before her move to RAI.

Annunziata is considered too left-wing by RAI’s four-person board, appointed by Prime Minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing government.

But that is precisely why she got the job.

According to complex politics, RAI is controlled by a pro-government majority, with some representatives in the top management close to the opposition.

However, contrary to the norm, she had no say in the appointment of RAI director general Flavio Cattaneo, who backs Berlusconi.

The board blocks many of her changes: The few exceptions include her campaign to get lewd images of women off the screen.

That move is part of a larger review proposed by Annunziata who wants the pubcaster to move away from the down-market style of its commercial rival, Berlusconi’s Mediaset, and focus on public service programming.

However, the board has not backed her attempts to cut the number of reality shows and improve the quality of news.

They vetoed her decision to put left-wing political commentator Michele Santoro back on the air after a judge ordered that he be given back his show at the beginning of the month, ruling that his contract was broken for political reasons.

RAI dropped Santoro last year following criticism by Berlusconi.

“This is not the first time Annunziata has been isolated by the RAI board. This cannot be accepted as a rule,” says Claudio Petruccioli, head of the Parliamentary RAI supervising commission.

Some pundits have called Annunziata “the only real man” in RAI today. She’ll need all that strength to hang on to her job at the pubcaster.

More TV

  • BBC Orders Oscar Wilde Documentary with

    BBC Orders Oscar Wilde Documentary With Stephen Fry, Freddie Fox

    A new documentary about Oscar Wilde will tell the celebrated writer’s story with a star cast recreating excerpts from his greatest works, including “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” Freddie Fox, Claire Skinner, Anna Chancellor and James Fleet will all perform in the 80-minute show, “The Importance of Being Oscar,” which [...]

  • FOSSE VERDON -- Pictured: (l-r) Michelle

    TV News Roundup: 'Fosse/Verdon' Premiere Date Set at FX

    In today’s TV news roundup, FX announced the premiere date for “Fosse/Verdon,” and Comedy Central released a new trailer for the final season of “Broad City.”  DATES “Workin’ Moms” is set to premiere Feb. 22 on Netflix. The series, which is currently in its third season, first aired in Canada on CBC Television and is [...]

  • Ilana Glazer Abbi Jacobson

    'Broad City' Stars on Discovering New Aspects of Their Characters

    Throughout the run of “Broad City,” creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer have been conflicted about how much of their on-screen characters (also named Abbi and Ilana) should come directly from their personalities and lives. But when it came to the final season, Jacobson in particular experienced a life-changing shift that she wanted to impart [...]

  • The Goldbergs spinoff

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilot 'Uninsured' From 'Goldbergs' Producers

    NBC has ordered a pilot for the multi-camera comedy “Uninsured.” In the series, young parents Dave and Rebecca end up having to take care of Dave’s parents who have mishandled their finances and need help to pay down a sizable debt. Dan Levy will serve as writer and executive producer, with Doug Robinson and Alison Greenspan [...]

  • Emily Kapnek

    'Splitting Up Together' Creator Emily Kapnek Inks Overall Deal at ABC Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

    Writer and producer Emily Kapnek has signed a three-year overall deal at ABC Studios, Variety has learned exclusively. Kapnek most recently developed the ABC single-cam comedy series “Splitting Up Together,” which is based on the Danish series “Bedre skilt end aldrig.” She was previously under an overall deal at Warner Bros. Television, which produces “Splitting Up [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content