RAI brings in Garimberti as president

New chief had roles at La Repubblica, 'TG2'

ROME -- Italian state broadcaster RAI named Paolo Garimberti, a former deputy director of daily newspaper La Repubblica and RAI's television news program "TG2," as its new president.

The selection of Garimberti follows a long battle over who would take over the state broadcaster, which controls three of Italy's seven national networks. Mediaset, the media giant controlled by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, also runs three networks. Along with News Corp.'s satellite Sky networks, the companies dominate the television landscape in Italy.

Berlusconi gave his nod of approval to Garimberti, who was nominated for the job by opposition lawmakers. It was a rare example of bipartisan cooperation in Italy.

Garimberti is best known for having a distinctly American taste in television. In the past, he has praised "Late Night with David Letterman," "Saturday Night Live" and U.S. sports programming. With his first comments on the job, he expressed admiration for U.S. news icon Walter Cronkite.

The new president's taste in programming could signal a change at RAI, which has in recent years favored locally made programs over dubbed U.S. fare.