Italian TV Series Grab Global Spotlight

Four years ago, when Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty” won Italy’s 14th foreign-language Oscar — the most of any country — the Italian TV industry was mostly geared toward the local market.

Cut to 2018, and shows such as Sorrentino’s “The Young Pope,” which aired on HBO in the U.S., and “Gomorrah,” on Sundance TV, as well as upcoming literary adaptation skeins “The Name of the Rose,” and “My Brilliant Friend,” are putting Italy on the international TV map.

“Italian producers have risen to the occasion and, finally, have been able to make the leap,” says Giancarlo Leone, head of Italy’s TV producers’ association APT. And the way Italian series are “conceived, and perceived, in terms of visual language, is no different from our films,” he notes. “Except that series provide greater opportunities for narratives to be developed beyond a two-hour time span.”

In Italy, the correlation between film and TV is particularly important. “The style of our best dramas is cinematic: strongly rooted in reality, but also with rich visuals,” Riccardo Tozzi, founding partner of film and TV production company Cattleya, told Variety in a recent interview. “It’s Italy’s strong suit, and the reason behind our escalating international success.”

Cattleya, which produced “Gomorrah” for paybox Sky Italia, is among companies that joined Vision Distribution, the theatrical alliance Sky launched last year headed by former Warner Bros. Italy managing director Nicola Maccanico. Last November, he adopted an innovative distribution strategy, releasing two episodes of the third season of “Gomorrah” for a two-day run in Italian movie theaters, where they made a killing.

Sky’s latest high-end series is “The Miracle,” a show with supernatural elements centered on a hidden plastic statue of the Virgin Mary that weeps tears of blood and affects the lives of everyone who comes in contact with it.

Co-produced by Sky and FremantleMedia-owned Wildside, “The Miracle” aired successfully in Italy in May and will be the first Sky show dubbed into English for the international market.

FremantleMedia Italy chief Lorenzo Mieli compares contemporary Italian TV production and the glory days of cinema Italiano.

“I think it’s just like what happened in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s with Italian cinema,” Mieli says. “Our auteur movies were already traveling and then we also started exporting works by genre directors like Dario Argento and Sergio Leone. This is what’s happening today with our TV shows, and I hope ‘The Miracle’ will follow that course.”

More Biz

  • Lenny Bruce (1925-1966) social critic and

    Paul Krassner Recalls Lenny Bruce, Cavalier Magazine 50 Years Later

    Men’s magazine Cavalier was launched by Fawcett Publications in 1952 (motto: “For the American Male”). It was published the year before Playboy, to which it has often been compared. Imagine that this was a bastion of cutting-edge comic literature. Back in the day, Cavalier tried to be seen as slightly hipper, more youthful and considered [...]

  • LiveXLive Names AOL and MTV Vet

    LiveXLive Names AOL and MTV Vet Dermot McCormack President

    Live entertainment digital media company LiveXLive Media today announced that AOL and MTV veteran Dermot McCormack has been named president of the company. According to the announcement, McCormack will lead the business and creative operations of LiveXLive, effective immediately. McCormack previously served as AOL’s Global President of Video and Studios, where he oversaw the video [...]

  • R Kelly Sexual Assult Accusations Mugshot

    R. Kelly Ordered Held Without Bail

    R. Kelly has been ordered held without bond at a hearing Tuesday in federal court in Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The singer entered a not-guilty plea. The hearing, which follows the singer being hit Friday with a total of 18 counts of serious sexual misconduct and other charges in Chicago and New York, [...]

  • Woodstock co-producer and co-founder, Michael Lang,

    Woodstock 50 Organizers Are Optimistic but Vague Before Town Meeting

    Woodstock organizers Michael Lang and Richard Peck were optimistic but vague when speaking with reporters at a hastily announced open house for the festival held in Vernon, New York on Monday night. The town’s Vernon Downs is the most recent proposed site for the trouble festival, which has been dogged by financial and organizational problems [...]

  • What Is Equity, Roc Nation’s Indie

    What Is Equity, Roc Nation’s Indie Distribution Company?

    When news broke earlier this year that Jaz-O, Jay-Z’s longtime friend-turned-foe-turned-friend-again from Marcy Projects, had signed with Roc Nation, most reports glossed over exactly which company the rapper had signed with. His deal, for his Kingz Kounty Media Group, is actually with Equity Distribution, the independent distribution arm of the Roc Nation family of companies, [...]

  • Andhadhun

    Booming Digital Lifts Eros Indian Film Distribution Giant

    Eros International, India’s largest and most controversial film distributor, says that its digital revenues now outstrip conventional theatrical and syndication revenues. Its Eros Now streaming platform claims 18.8 million paying subscribers. The New York-listed company reported annual results that were distorted by multiple adjustments to presentation. Reported revenues in the year to end of March [...]

  • The dark Manhatten skyline, seen from

    StubHub Refunds $500,000 to Customers Shut Out by New York Blackout

    Saturday’s blackout in New York had an outsized effect on the city’s nightlife, with Madison Square Garden and the entire Broadway district seeing multiple shows cancelled due to the the power outage. As a result, StubHub has refunded more than $500,000 worth of tickets for cancelled events. According to a statement from the company, the StubHub [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content