The Italian Almanac

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a shot from Survivors

It's Not Real

Reality show contestants must expect insults as part of the game, Italy`s highest court of appeal ruled. The Cassation Court turned down a defamation claim from a 47-year-old farmer a rival jocularly called ``a paedophile`` after he saw him making advances to a 23-year-old secretary on the Italian version of Survivor. The man, Franco Mancini, unsuccessfully argued that the quip had damaged his reputation and exposed him to ``constant leg-pulling`` since the episode aired in 2001.

Mancini, now 55, claimed he was an unfair victim because Italian reality shows were in their infancy at the time and so contestants couldn`t imagine they would come in for such treatment. But the Cassation judges took another view, ruling that ``it could not escape contestants that they were taking part in a show deliberately aimed at stirring up arguments``.

Mancini claimed Survivor, which was pulled from a Berlusconi channel after one season because of low ratings, was the first Italian reality. But Grande Fratello (Big Brother), which is now in its ninth season, preceded it by a year.