Massimo Giletti: “Meloni must understand that Rai is not involved. On La7 I hope someone tells the truth"

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Massimo Giletti: “Meloni must understand that Rai is not involved. On La7 I hope someone tells the truth"

Interview with Massimo Giletti, who returns to Rai with the special dedicated to the 70 years of TV. “Meloni is intelligent and has a great chance on Rai”, says the presenter of public service and politics. Then on the attempt to bring Fazio back to Rai: “Roberto Sergio had said yes to me”. The sensational exit from La7: “Sent away with an email, humanly terrible”.

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Italian television turns 70 and Rai calls Massimo Giletti to host the great event La TV fa 70, broadcast on Wednesday 28 February at 9.30pm on Rai 1, to celebrate this anniversary. An occasion that marks the return of the presenter to Rai after 6 years spent at La7 and a painful and much discussed farewell in 2017. Today Giletti starts again from here, without the certainty that Rai will be his definitive home. In this interview the host talks about himself in a transversal way, from the relationships between politics and public service to the relationships with Pippo Baudo and Renzo Arbore , the attempt to bring Fazio back to Rai and the painful and mysterious separation with La7.

Six years ago you started again at La7, today you return to Rai, in both cases after two stormy farewells. Is Giletti more serene or more restless than then?

The storms we experience help to temper the person, the way of being. Even in the storm and disappointments that professional life presents you, you must try to be calm, move forward, reap the fruits of positivity even from negative notes. Wallowing in pain I've learned is not the way. It doesn't pay, you have to leave again.

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How do you conceive this return to where you felt you needed to be? Is it a revenge?

I don't live for revenge, it's wrong. I live in the awareness that you always have to work to make a television product, have a goal to pursue with passion, beyond what you achieve. Returning to Rai I perceived great affection from the workers, the technicians with whom I had started my career, many young people from back then who are now close to retirement (he smiles, ed.) and also the affection and attention of the top management, not to be taken for granted, made me nice to meet you.

Entertainment seemed like a lateral element in your career, whereas now maybe you needed exactly this?

That's what they offered me. This is a very important event because telling 70 years of TV history was not easy, I did six years of investigations and so perhaps it is far from my DNA, but in reality in my last years in Rai I had done some early evenings dedicated to 'entertainment. I define myself as a televisionman, someone who makes television, an instrument that cannot be labeled in just one genre.

Let's talk about the future. After this appointment on the history of Rai you said that you will decide what to do. When will you know?

In the next month I will be able to afford the luxury of meeting the interlocutors or reasoning. The important thing is the project. What we will decide within two months will be where to go and the project is decisive. I have open roads in various television directions, whoever believes in it the most will have me.

Are the proposals they made to you on standby because you are waiting for the bigger one from Rai?

I want to clarify, I have more proposals, I wanted to concentrate on this event which is a gigantic thing but after dedicating myself to these evenings for Rai I will see.

Giletti at Sanremo 2024 with Amadeus

Giletti at Sanremo 2024 with Amadeus

Are you more oriented towards new territories, or returning to already beaten paths?

On one of these Rai evenings I hosted Mentana, who is one of the few to have worked with Rai, Mediaset and La7, something I pointed out to him jokingly. I have never been afraid of the unknown, of risk. When I left Rai, whoever accompanied me to the door told me that I wouldn't have achieved more than 2% elsewhere. I have demonstrated not only that I can beat Rai1, but that I can improve the work group and myself.

From next year, a Sunday afternoon on Rai1 could be a scenario, given that it is not known whether Mara Venier will continue on Domenica In or not?

It's not me who decides, I see that Mara does an excellent job on Rai1. We have already worked together in the past, but the point is not the location, which is also important, but rather the story. In my work there are three essential rules: pride in one's work, the awareness of having a direction and the desire to do well without necessarily thinking about turnover. This is certainly an advantage that public TV allows you to have. I know well that you need to have a sense of the proportion between costs and proceeds, but I think that this will also be the reasoning that will determine my choice.

How can 70 years of Rai be told in just a few hours of TV?

As protagonists I will have some of the most important faces in the history of TV who will tell their style. The common thread that will tie everything together are the theme tunes, the music that has marked the history of TV, with the two founding fathers of Baudo and Arbore. Gabbani will be on the roof of the RAI in Turin with a string quartet, Colapesce and Dimartino will sing “Ma la notte no”. I will alternate faces and great refrains from the company's history, the attempt is to create a dynamic and lively evening.

Speaking of Baudo and Arbore, who inspires you?

I have a very high personal admiration for Pippo, I worked with him, I interviewed him, seeing him will be an opportunity to revisit his moments of glory and I believe it is also a fair tribute that Rai owes him. On Renzo I actually use a phrase from Baudo: Arbore doesn't create a show, he is the show itself. Let's say that as an anti-liturgical man that I am, I loved Arbore's TV which was anti-liturgical par excellence. In common with him, among other things, I have the fact of having suffered censorship, because he too had a program closed after two years.

Giletti and Baudo in 2009

Giletti and Baudo in 2009

At the moment, Rai is experiencing a particular moment, a narrative that is very conditioned by politics. Aren't you afraid that this might label you?

If that were the case, I think I would already have a contract from September, with an evening information program in prime time. Every now and then someone brings up this story, which among other things never applies to colleagues on the left, while it applies to those who are not aligned. Being free has a cost, not being enslaved, but I believe freedom is the only path to pursue.

Many define this new Rai as a Telemeloni.

Meloni must understand that he has a great chance of being able to demonstrate that he chooses skills and not quacks. Rai is the mirror of the country, if you make a winning Rai, you also win in the country. If you occupy the company you are not doing the country a good service. I believe Meloni is intelligent and will be able to determine a Rai that knows how to cultivate variety and encourage culture, because a people who can be manipulated is scary. I'm afraid of a TV that is afraid of opinions.

The fact that you are a free hitter makes you attractive to politicians who want to put a label on you.

This is true, but I give advice to those who manage Rai to work to improve productions, not try to control the product, which cannot be controlled. We need to focus our energy on this, I am proud to have accepted this evening because it is produced at Rai headquarters and is done with Rai workers.

You tried to bring Fazio back to Rai, but you said you didn't receive a response.

If I am called to tell the story of 70 years of TV history, I think Fabio Fazio is on the podium in this story, because he has great merits and I regret not having been able to talk about his skill.

Maybe the past weighed heavily. Over the years at La7 you have leveraged this rivalry with him. Was it for television needs or is there a human conflict between you?

Fabio and I talked a lot in that famous June in which I was shown the door of the company, when he remained in Rai. Afterwards it is clear that, by arriving at La7, I created a bit of tension and it clearly didn't help my push on that dualism.

“I'm going against Fazio because I'm crazy”, you said in an interview with Fanpage.

It wasn't challengeable, because it was a giant machine compared to mine, but the goal was precisely to make an “anti” product. I remember that Cairo told me I was crazy, he looked at me very badly, so much so that he added: “if it exceeds 6% I'll give you a bonus”. We made 7%. But our rivalry is independent of this circumstance.

Maybe someone at the top of Rai misunderstood the idea that Fazio was there after what happened in recent months?

Absolutely not, the top management gave me the okay. The CEO Roberto Sergio told me that they would be happy to see him on Rai and therefore I wrote to Fazio twice, without receiving a reply. I would have been happy to receive one, for reasons of fairness.

Massimo Giletti at It's Not the Arena

Massimo Giletti at It's Not the Arena

We close with La7, the doubt remains about the reasons for the closure of Non è l'Arena. What kind of relationship did you have?

We didn't stay, I didn't have a human relationship. My boys and I were shown the door with a cold email, not even a phone call from the Salerno network director. I think it's humanly terrible, because at least at the time the general director of Rai met me to tell me to my face. I hope that one day someone will be able to tell the truth, but I fear it will be too difficult.

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