Nick Vivarelli International Italy city Rome dance Hollywood show stage stars audience singer Nick Vivarelli International Italy city Rome

Rosario Fiorello on Breathing New Life Into Italian Public TV and Infuriating Harvey Weinstein

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Nick Vivarelli International Correspondent It’s 7:30 a.m. on a sunny May morning in Rome on a side street outside the studios of Italian state broadcaster Rai.

A live audience standing behind metal fencing is watching a lithe group of nuns, one with a mustache, who slowly creep out from a row of white closet doors.

They start dancing, hugging and pirouetting to a ballad belted out by a young Tuscan pop singer. Then the dancers, dressed in Catholic sisters garb, begin playing basketball.

Welcome to “Viva Rai 2!,” Italy’s answer to America’s morning shows. It’s a local ratings phenomenon conceived and conducted by volcanic Sicilian megastar Rosario Fiorello, who is breathing new life into Italian television at a time when doomsayers are sounding the death knell of public TV around the world.

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