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Mediaset and RAI in court over Endemol talent format

Pier Silvio Berlusconi has weighed into an ongoing battle over Endemol talent format Baila! Berlusconi, son of Italian prime minister Silvio and deputy chairman of Italian broadcaster Mediaset, refuted claims that Baila! is a copy of Ballando con le stele, the local version of BBC Worldwide format Dancing with the Stars, which is aired by public broadcaster RAI.

Milly Carlucci, the presenter of Dancing with the Stars in Italy, has said the Mediaset show is a copy of the one that she fronts and has, along with RAI, taken the case to court.

Berlusconi reacted to Italian press articles that reported that he had said it was ok, in the TV industry, to copy ideas. Describing these reports as erroneous, Mediaset issued statement with a transcript of what Berlusconi said about Baila!, which is scheduled to air on Mediaset’s Canale 5.

He noted that it is an Italian adaptation of a Latin American format, adding: “It is a dancing talent show with the peculiarity of involving both celebrities and normal people. The dance talent show is a format that works on commercial television everywhere in the world. We certainly wouldn’t claim that the only reality format is Big Brother or that the only singing talent show is Amici.”

However, the dispute over Baila! is continuing. A Rome court has asked Mediaset and Endemol to produce an outline of the show to prove it is different to its rival format.

Mediaset responded to the copycat claims today, saying that the programme is still in production and no-one can claim to know what the final version will look like.

“RTI [Mediaset] has acquired a format from Endemol that has guaranteed to be original,” it said in a statement. “Certainly, the programs will be different.” It added: “Mediaset however, is certain of his motives and rejects all accusations of plagiarism, calmly waiting the judge’s decision.”

As well as airing in Lat-Am, Endemol’s US Hispanic division has launched a version of Baila! on Univision in the US.