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Dubbers’ Strike Suspended in Italy

September 16, 1998

ROME (AP) _ A two-month dubbers’ strike was suspended Wednesday night, hours after Italian viewers inundated a TV network with phone calls to protest that American soap stars were speaking English instead of their usual Italian.

In addition to halting the strike, the dubbers also agreed to return to negotiations, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

With the shows only recently returning to the air after the traditional summer break, it was exactly what viewers wanted to hear.

After the lunch-hour broadcast of ``The Bold and the Beautiful,″ which goes by the title ``Beautiful″ in Italy, hundreds of viewers had called to demand their stars speak only Italian, said Yuri Priori, a switchboard operator at Mediaset.

The callers, most of them women, also protested Tuesday’s broadcast of ``Guiding Light,″ called ``Sentieri″ in Italy, on another Mediaset network. ``Beautiful″ had an Italian voice-over with English still audible in the background, and ``Guiding Light″ had subtitles while the soap actors spoke in English.

Eleonora Sala, a 19-year-old student, said she wouldn’t watch ``Beautiful″ anymore if the actors speak English. The voice-over was confusing, she said.

Italians like their films and TV shows in Italian, and the dubbers’ strike for more money and royalties had delayed the release of big Hollywood films, including ``Saving Private Ryan,″ in cinemas reopening after the traditional summer shutdown.

Italians also watch many American TV shows, although episodes are usually a year behind those currently being shown in the United States. Because the new TV season doesn’t open until October, the impact of the strike had not hit fans of such popular shows as ``Law and Order″ and ``ER.″

ANSA reported that the dubbers hope to have a national contract by March.

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