Italy's state-run TV channels have regained the largest audience figures for the coveted prime time slot after years of suffering at the hands of the Berlusconi-owned Mediaset network. The results for the so-called periodo di garanzia, a period that runs from 21 September to 6 December on which advertisers base the coming year’s contracts, show that RAI has recovered some of its old status. Raiuno surpassed Canale 5 during the prime time slot for the first time in three years (25.1 per cent of the audience against 24.7 per cent), while Raidue was more popular than Italiauno by 12 per cent against 10.9 per cent. In the evening RAI leads audience ratings by 46.3 per cent in against 43.9 per cent for the Mediaset channels, and during the day by 46.17 per cent against 42.94 per cent. Compared with the same period last year, the three RAI channels show a 1.8 inxcrease in prime-time viewer numbers whereas the three Mediaset offerings recorded a 1.2 decrease. A great deal of RAI’s success is a result of the return of popular TV presenter Paolo Bonolis after years at Mediaset. Other RAI autumnal success stories include L’Isola dei Famosi, the reality show set on a Caribbean island, and its range of so-called films made for television covering the lives of personalities such as Pope John Paul I, Mother Teresa and the Persian princess Soraya.
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