Television

Italian TV viewers urged to boycott the box for a week

MUMBAI: Italy's television networks are facing their first nationwide TV viewers' strike. Viewers are being urged to think outside the box and turn off their sets this week and join a nationwide boycott to protest against the mediocrity of Italian television.

Under the uncompromising slogan "Television is Nasty and Bad," it aims to tempt at least 400,000 people away from primetime weekend viewing. The strike's logo is made up of the multi-coloured vertical bars shown by an untuned set. "We want to say to people that there are better ways of spending their free time than to stay home staring at television," said Anna Spreafico, a spokeswoman for Esterni, the Milan cultural association behind the initiative.

According to the BBC reports, Italy's version of the Wheel of Fortune will be among those hit by the strike. Esterni will hold numerous events to lure people off the couch. Theatres and cinemas are reducing ticket prices, bars are offering complimentary cocktails and museums are also giving discounts.

Esterni, set up to promote live events and personal encounters to counter modern, media-induced alienation, has been holding viewers' strikes in Milan for seven years. During that period it claims to have increased 11-fold the number of protesters according to a media report.

Among the offerings strikers will miss will be Wrestling Smackdown; a rerun of the venerable detective series Colombo; and Amici, a reality show based in a drama school. Unfortunately for the protest organisers, this weekend's programming for the state-owned RAI includes a Telethon to raise cash for charities ahead of Christmas.

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