The French press derides [Silvio Berlusconi], a 49-year-old Milan businessman, as "the pope of tele-pizzeria." Berlusconi runs a commercial television empire in Italy that thrives on offering viewers a diet of American serials and soap operas, a procession of quiz shows, lots of sports and old movies interrupted by frequent commercials. His three commercial networks overwhelm the three Italian government networks in popularity.
Most outsiders thought that a group of three stations-Radio-Television Luxembourg, Radio Monte Carlo and Europe 1-would be awarded the license. Perhaps troubled by the association of these three stations with Rupert Murdoch, the politically conservative owner of many newspapers in the United States, Australia and Britain, [Francois Mitterrand] chose instead a company headed by Berlusconi and Jerome Seydoux, a wealthy, 51-year-old French executive regarded as a friend of the president.
It has been pointed out that Berlusconi is a friend of Italy's Socialist Prime Minister Bettino Craxi, and that the Seydoux family has long been allied to the Socialist Party of France. This seems to ensure that the first private television channel in France will be in pro-Socialist hands.