8 Pages

Canale Cinque

Soon to become the cornerstone of the media empire of Silvio Berlusconi, private television channel Canale Cinque was born in 1980 in Milan by bringing together five private channels, thus inaugurating the era of commercial television in Italy Its first coup was in 1981 with the purchase of rights to the football event Mundialito, which was followed by success in poaching from the RAI some of the national broadcaster’s bestknown faces, amongst them personalities like Mike Bongiorno. Changing all the rules of television programming, Cinque exploited neglected time bands, like the morning period, and scheduled its daily programs strategically so as to draw viewers from the RAI. Presenting itself as a lively channel for the whole family with films, quizzes and variety shows, Cinque consolidated its success by screening the American serial ‘Dallas’ which became one of the most-watched shows on Italian television. In 1987, in another victory in the ‘television wars’, Pippo Baudo also abandoned the RAI for Cinque. With his flagship thus firmly established, Berlusconi tried-though, as it turned out, in vain-to export Canale Cinque to France (La Cinq) and to Spain (Telecinco). Following a law permitting live broadcasts in 1992, Cinque initiated its own national news program, TG5, thus confirming its status as alternative to the RAI.