Maurizio Costanzo, broadcaster and mainstay of Italian television, dies aged 84

Generations of Maltese made The Maurizio Costanzo Show their staple evening discussion programme in the pre-Cable TV era

Maurizio Costanzo
Maurizio Costanzo

Maurizio Costanzo, one of the most familiar faces of Italian television, has died at the age of 84, in Rome, Italy.

The well-known broadcaster and journalist was unmistakably part and parcel of Malta’s own televisual experience for decades, with his long-running Maurizio Costanzo Show a staple evening discussion programme in the pre-Cable TV era.

Costanzo began his career as a journalist, and in the late 1970s, was the founding editor of the newspaper L’Occhio. Parallel to his career as a journalist, he worked as a radio and TV host, with Bontà loro become a staple of RAI programming. He resigned the position after it was revealed that he had been a member of the Propaganda 2 masonic lodge.

Costanzo moved to Silvio Berlusconi’s TV empire – him also a P2 member – to host the Maurizio Costanzo Show, while also being artistic director of Canale 5 until 2009. In 2010 he returned to RAI, presenting the talk show Bontà sua.

On 14 May 1993, Costanzo was targeted by a bomb as he drove down a Rome street, in which 23 people were injured. He had used his show to express delight at the arrest of Sicilian Mafia boss Salvatore Riina.

Costanzo also acted as consultant to Italian political leaders and lectured at the Università degli Studi Niccolò Cusano.

Costanzo also wrote the screenplays for several films, such as 1977’s Melodrammore.

In 1966 he co-wrote the lyrics of the song “Se telefonando”, popularised by Mina.

Costanzo was married four times, his most recent wife being television host Maria De Filippi whom he married in 1995. In 2004, the couple adopted a 12-year-old boy, Gabriele.