The Italian Almanac

Adriano Celentano

Italian Television - October 18

"Rockpolitik," a weekly variety program to be shown on RAI, is expected to feature left-wing political commentator Michele Santoro and comic Daniele Luttazzi. They have not confirmed their appearance. The host is an Italian singer and actor Adriano Celentano, known for his often biting comments.

Veteran journalist Enzo Biagi has also been invited, but he declined. "I cannot go back to RAI ... as long as the same people that shut down (my) show and prevented my team from working are staying there," Biagi wrote on the front-page of daily Corriere della Sera.

RAI canceled Santoro's and Biagi's shows in 2002, after the premier and his political allies accused them of using their programs to push their agendas. RAI offered to reinstate Santoro and Biagi with programs airing less frequently or later in the evening, but both refused.

RAI spokesman Giuseppe Nava said Monday that Celentano had been granted "ample authority" in shaping the program. "On variety shows, the presence of politicians should normally be avoided," Nava said. "Different points of views and debate should be offered."

The four-episode live show also will feature top Italian director Roberto Benigni among other guests, such as singers, rock bands and comics, said Andrea Scrosati, one of the program's creators. He said Santoro, Biagi and Luttazzi had been invited, but declined to give other details.