Berlusconi-Santoro TV clash sets record for its channel

Ex-PM's first live fight with talk-show host foe a hit on La7

Berlusconi-Santoro TV clash sets record for its channel

Rome, January 11 - A keenly anticipated pre-election clash between ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and left-wing talk-show host Michele Santoro gained the best-ever viewing figures for the small La7 channel. The media magnate and three-time premier's first appearance on a programme which has stood out for detailed criticism of him attracted 8.7 million viewers, a 33.58% share of the prime-time audience. La7 is the seventh and smallest of Italy's main terrestrial channels, trailing the three State-controlled Rai channels and Berlusconi's three Mediaset channels. Berlusconi, whose criticism of Santoro in 2002 led to a five-year absence from Rai, was expected by many to storm out of the show but instead put in a feisty performance, giving as good as he got, Italian media said Friday.

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