Mipcom: RAI Rides Global Tube Wave

Italy’s state broadcaster RAI is leading the way in the country’s international TV boom.

Though pay-TV Sky Italia and Netflix are churning out some edgier Italian shows for the international marketplace, the bold Italian pubcaster is now riding high after making a splash at the Venice Film Festival with the world premiere of HBO/RAI’s powerful female friendship saga “My Brilliant Friend,” based on the first of Elena Ferrante’s globally best-selling novels.

Next up are its buzzed-about “The Name of the Rose” series, starring John Turturro, and the third season of Frank Spotnitz’s hit “Medici” saga, currently shooting in Italy.

“My Brilliant Friend,” which RAI fiction chief Eleonora Andreatta started developing before the book’s big success, marks a milestone for Italy’s TV industry because unlike Sky’s crimer “Gomorrah” and Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Young Pope,” it’s classic highbrow TV of the ilk that made the BBC great, but riskier since it’s in Neapolitan dialect.

“The novel is particularly close to the soul of public service television,” Andreatta says. RAI was interested in telling a story of female friendship and also “emancipation from a situation of poverty and great violence” that occurs through education, she adds.

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