Pope Francis on Italian Rai talk show

WITHAdmittedly, it takes some getting used to on a political talk show: after advertising for perfume and pet food, for men’s shampoo and detergent for delicates, for surprise eggs made of chocolate and cars with hybrid drives, comes the pope. That’s what happened on Sunday evening with “Che Tempo che fa” (roughly: how the weather is) on Rai 3. Host of the current weekly talk, which combines hard politics with soft entertainment, which often lasts more than three and sometimes up to four hours, has been Fabio Fazio since 2003.

Matthias Rüb

Political correspondent for Italy, the Vatican, Albania and Malta based in Rome.

Fazio, 57 years old and at the same time ageless, is a paragon of courtesy and friendliness. These qualities seem to be innate and not trained for television. In keeping with the format of the show, which is rarely controversial and never violent, is the aquarium, behind which the presenter sits to ask his guests questions with his head slightly tilted. They are either live in the Milan studio or are connected to a large video wall. In times of the pandemic, there have recently been fewer and fewer live guests and more and more people connected.

A scoop for the Rai

The “ospite speciale”, the special guest at “Che tempo che fa” this Sunday evening was Pope Francis. This was of course a scoop for Fazio and his team at Rai, which had been duly announced and celebrated days before the show was broadcast on all channels of public broadcaster Rai. In the first part of the show, which dealt with the political events of the past week, all the guests paid their respects to the host and praised him in advance for the “historic achievement” of winning the Pope for an interview.

Knowledge has never been more valuable

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Anyone who follows the Vatican’s customs and media work, even from afar, should know that Francis would not come to the studio in Milan, but would allow himself to be connected. Of course, Francis’ appearance on live television was not entirely without example. As early as October 1998, John Paul II allowed himself to be questioned on the telephone in a program by star presenter Bruno Vespa.


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