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Rai 1 (pronunciation: [ˈraiuːno]) is an Italian free-to-air television channel owned and operated by state-owned public broadcasterRAI – Radiotelevisione italiana. It is the company's flagship television channel, and is known for broadcasting mainstream and generalist programming, usually aimed towards families, including TG1 news bulletins, prime time drama, cinema and entertainment, and major breaking news, sports and special events.
It was launched on 3 January 1954 as the first regular television service in Italy. It was the only one until 4 November 1961, when RAI launched a second channel. The channel was initially referred to as "Programma Nazionale". It received other names, such as "Rete 1" and "Raiuno" until it adopted its current name "Rai 1". It has the highest viewership in Italy, and regularly competes with Mediaset's Canale 5.
In the United Kingdom, it is available in free to air satellite broadcast from Hot Bird 13B.
Rai – Italian Radiotelevision starts its regular television broadcasting service today.
— Fulvia Colombo announcing the start of TV broadcasting, 3 January 1954
The first set of programming for Rai 1 was almost completely educational with no advertising, except for the popular Carosello. Early shows were meant to teach a common language to a country torn apart by World War II. Shows like Non è mai troppo tardi... were simply shot in a classroom setting and meant to help with reconstruction. While televisions were not widely available nor affordable, those who could spend the money on them became community leaders and often invited the neighborhood to visit. Bars and cafés turned from places where men would meet to argue or play cards into miniature cinemas where arguments over what show to watch would break out. Women and children were also more accepted inside the bars due to the lack of men post-war and their need to enter working society. Churches also bought televisions are a means of drawing people to spend time as part of those communities.
The channel launched an HDTV1080i simulcast in September 2013, available nationwide on subscription-television providers and on DTT (channel 1). Previously, HD programs used to be aired on Rai HD.
3 October 1983 to 26 September 1988
18 May 2010 to 12 September 2016
In use since September 2016
Directors of Rai 1
Giuseppe Matteucci: 1954–1976
Mimmo Scarano: 1976–1979
Paolo Valmarana: 1980
Emmanuele Milano: 1980–1987
Giuseppe Rossini: 1987–1989
Carlo Fuscagni: 1989–1993
Nadio Delai: 1993–1994
Brando Giordani: 1994–1996
Giovanni Tantillo: 1996–1998
Agostino Saccà: 1998–2000, 2001–2002
Pier Luigi Celli: 2000
Maurizio Beretta: 2000–2001
Fabrizio Del Noce: 2002–2009
Mauro Mazza: 2009–2012
Giancarlo Leone: 2012–2016
Andrea Fabiano: 2016–2017
Angelo Teodoli: 2017–2018
Teresa De Santis: 2018–2020
Stefano Coletta: 2020–present
TG1, the main news service, directed by Giuseppe Carboni
Until the autumn 1976/77 season, regular broadcasting was in monochrome (black and white), with very few exceptions (shown in bold). Regular color broadcasting began during the winter 1976/77 season.
Un due tre... aka 1, 2, 3, satire/variety show starring Raimondo Vianello e Ugo Tognazzi. Considered one of the most influential shows in Italian television history, it was discontinued in 1959 after the duo performed an ironic sketch about then-president of the Republic, Giovanni Gronchi (six seasons, from 19 January 1954 to 2 August 1959).
Lascia o raddoppia, a one-hour-long game show hosted by Mike Bongiorno (1955–59, on Thursday, at 9:00 PM, except for the first season shown on Saturday night).
Campanile Sera, one-hour-long game show, hosted by Enzo Tortora, Mike Bongiorno and Enza Sampò (1959–61, on Thursday at 9:00 PM). One of the various games on the show, "il gioco dei prezzi", was an early Italian incarnation of The Price Is Right franchise.
Studio Uno, Saturday night variety show, hosted mainly by Mina (1961–66, 9:00 PM).
Fatti e fattacci, variety show, hosted by Gigi Proietti and Ornella Vanoni, direct by Antonello Falqui (four episodes, from 15 February 1975, Saturday night at 8:40 PM). In colour.
Dov'è Anna, drama/giallominiseries in seven episodes, starring Scilla Gabel and Mariano Rigillo, broadcast on Tuesday, from 13 January 1976, at 8:45 PM.
Albert e l'Uomo Nero (the title, roughly translated, means Albert and the Bogeyman), drama/giallominiseries in three episodes, starring Nando Gazzolo, Franco Graziosi and then kid Claudio Cinquepalmi in the title role of Albert. Avant-garde soundtrack by Franco Micalizzi. It was perhaps the last successful Italian black and white drama series, aired on 21 March (Sunday), 23 March (Tuesday) and 28 March (Sunday) nights at 8:45 PM.
Bontà loro, one-hour-long late night talk show hosted by Maurizio Costanzo, is considered by some critics to be the first modern talk show in Italian television (two seasons, from 18 October 1976, Monday night, 10:45 PM). In colour from 1977.
Non Stop, one-hour-long comedy consisting of a collage of sketches performed by young and (then) unknown comedians – among these future theatrical actor and director Carlo Verdone and actors Massimo Troisi and Lello Arena. Broadcast for two seasons (1977-8 and 1978-9), on Thursday night, at 8:40 PM.