Italian state broadcaster RAI has announced the appointment of writer, journalist and top media industry executive Maria Pia Ammirati as its head of drama, ending the bureaucratic impasse hampering the local industry since her predecessor Eleonora Andreatta left to become vice president of Italian Original series at Netflix in June.
RAI’s board has officially announced that Ammirati will replace Andreatta as head of RAI Fiction, the unit that produces roughly 70% of Italy’s scripted content, churning out about 500 hours of TV drama annually for RAI’s three main channels and, more recently, also its RAI Play streaming platform.
Ammirati, similarly to Andreatta, represents a rare case of a woman who has risen to the top ranks of Italy’s media industry.
She has held several prominent management positions at RAI, including deputy director of the flagship RAI 1 channel and head of the public broadcaster’s vast RAI Teche archives that are becoming an increasingly important commercial and content resource. Ammirati is also a prizewinning novelist and heads RAI’s equal opportunity committee championing gender equality.
Earlier this year, Ammirati was appointed president of Italian state film entity Istituto Luce-Cinecittà which runs Rome’s refurbished Cinecittà Studios. She is now expected to step down from that position.
RAI, after driving Italy’s TV production sector for years, is now suffering from fewer resources due to a coronavirus-related advertising contraction, but nonetheless it remains the main driver for the country’s TV producers.
During the four-month power gap, RAI director general Fabrizio Salini, a former Fox exec, and RAI Fiction deputy director Francesco Nardella took the reins and greenlight some projects, including pan-European TV series “Survivors” commissioned by the the partnership known as The Alliance, for which RAI Fiction has teamed up with France Télévisions, and Germany’s ZDF.
Now Ammirati’s appointment is expected to pave the way for approval of a number of other projects that were on stand by.