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The Young Pope: An Italian ‘celevision’ case study

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By analysing the case of The Young Pope by Paolo Sorrentino, this article aims to consider how celebrity culture, a well-known transnational phenomenon, is embodied in Italian media production. The television series, which was aired by Sky Atlantic starting on 21 October 2016, is a typical example of the circulation of movie stars towards television, thus implying a new kind of ‘celevision’. Moreover, media discourse about The Young Pope shows how the very concept of celebrity is constructed. In this broad context, the article first analyses the textual structure of The Young Pope, looking for specific celebrity production features; it also considers media discourse through a qualitative sample of press, TV and social media about the series before, during and shortly after its airing. The overall data thus describe the overlapping dimensions of transnational and national celebrity construction, while also pointing out the transmedia flow of celebrity culture.
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Keywords: Italian television series; audience performance; celebrity studies; celevision; paratextual construction of celebrity; social network engagement; textual representation of celebrity; transnational television production

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: IULM University 2: University of Bologna

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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  • The Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies (JICMS) is a fully peer reviewed English language journal, which explores Italian cinema and media as sites of crossing, allowing critical discussion of the work of filmmakers, artists in the film industry and media professionals. The journal intends to revive a critical discussion on the auteurs, celebrate new directors and accented cinema, and examine Italy as a geo-cultural locus for contemporary debate on translocal cinema.
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