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Four Reasons Why Sarah Palin and Discovery Are a Good Fit

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 24th 2010 3:06PM
Sarah Palin at book signing for Yesterday, we found out from James Hibberd at THR's Live Feed that Discovery Communications has won the bidding to air an Alaskan travelogue program hosted by former governor Sarah Palin, and today, it was revealed that it will officially air on TLC. 'Sarah Palin's Alaska,' which will be produced by Mark Burnett, is going to be a pricey proposition for Discovery; Gov. Palin was asking for $1.2 million per episode, according to Hibberd.

But it's going to be worth it. Whatever you may think of her politics, Palin is a network programmer's dream. In fact, Palin and Discovery seem to be a pretty good pairing, for a number of reasons:

1. Palin is charming and has a good screen presence. The big reason why she was so popular during the 2008 presidential campaign was that she connected with a lot of people who were outside the usual Republican base: mothers, parents of kids with special needs, and others. She was folksy and chatty, and she was able to connect with her audiences despite whatever flaws she had in the policy knowledge department.

As the host of a travelogue show, her casual manner is going to feel much more natural than it did when she was talking about "huntin' and fishin'" during the campaign.

2. She loves her home state
. The show is supposed to be shot similarly to 'Planet Earth' and 'Life.' Think big sweeping airplane shots of lush green mountains or seemingly endless vistas of icebergs and glaciers, all shot in high definition. If Palin is at all involved in the planning of the show, she'll be able to point out her favorite spots and what they mean to her and her family. Then the cinematographers can go to work creating the incredible shots we know they're going to produce.

Palin will also have a lot of good insight into the people of the 49th state. Face it; all most people in the lower 48 really know about Alaska is what we've learned from 'Northern Exposure' and 'Men in Trees:' There are many more men than women up there, and quirky characters abound. I have faith in Palin that she's going to show us that Alaska is more normal than people think, where people face the same everyday issues and struggles as anyone else does. It's not just moose and weirdos up there, and Palin's going to show us that.

3. Palin doesn't take herself seriously. At all. I gave her all the credit in the world when she went on 'SNL' during the campaign. She looked comfortable in front of the camera and didn't seem to mind whatever ribbing she was taking from Tina Fey and the Weekend Update folks. Heck, she even spoke to Alec Baldwin without gagging. And, while her recent monologue on 'The Tonight Show' wasn't going to make anyone fear for their jobs, just the fact that she was willing to do it makes her well-suited for a show like this.

Why? Because shows like this are more entertaining when the main subject is "going with the flow," so to speak. If something goes wrong, or there's a situation that doesn't show them in the best light, they won't be uptight about it. Say this about Gov. Palin: she's not afraid to take chances, even if they're calculated chances.

4. Discovery won't exploit Palin's family... unless she wants to. Reports about the show say that it's going to follow her family around the state. As Brad pointed out when this show was first announced, for a person who doesn't want the media to pry into her family life, she's putting her family in the public eye quite a bit. But, to be honest, that's not the audience's problem. What we will expect from TLC Discovery (or TLC... the landing spot in the Discovery empire hasn't been determined yet) and Burnett (See update above about the show's landing spot) is that they'll likely work with Palin and her husband to figure out how to best depict the family in the show.

That doesn't mean, though, that the show won't turn into a nature-laden version of 'Jon and Kate Plus 8.' But it'll only go as far as the Palins will let it. Discovery is rife with popular shows that don't exploit its subjects. In fact, a savvy subject -- Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein of 'The Little Couple' come to mind -- may be able to get the producers to highlight particular causes they believe in or show them in as positive light as possible. And the Palins seem to have that kind of savvy.

Are you looking forward to seeing 'Sarah Palin's Alaska,' no matter what end of the political spectrum you're on? Let me know in the comments.

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Ron Franscell

Don't like her? Don't watch. Several petitions exist urging Discovery to quash the program, purely because radical leftists and limousine liberals who've never ventured farther into the Great Outdoors than the Malibu Starbucks don't like her politics. Anybody who signs such a petition is basically saying, "I don't care what you might say, I don't believe anyone should be able to hear it because I might disagree with you." Yes, you have a right ton say such nonsense, but you look incredibly stupid when you do.

At this point, nobody knows what the content of this program will be, other than Sarah Palin's Alaska. I suspect she knows and loves that state more than 99.7% of the people who are whining about the program. So the protests cannot have anything to do with the substantive content that might be presented -- just politics.

Bottom line: if you don't like Sarah Palin ... don't watch. Simple. Quit whining about am program that many other Americans might want to see just because you don't.

May 01 2010 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Palin on TLC, sad situation... Perhaps we can get her best bud Michele Bachman to cohost. We can all learn that C02 is not harmful along with so much other fluff. Hey next they can get her daughter to school us on abstinence and where them babies come from.

Frankly this opens a whole new world of Discovery!! We can have a virtual Stalin teach us about tolerance and good will to others. Hey kids Hitler will give the narrative on the holocaust fraud after Palin teaches us that the world is only 6000 years old... The NEW Discovery Channel!! oh and we can have The New Lying... I mean the Lernang Channell hosted by Dr. Kent Hovind, (hey he paid for those degrees fair n square and who cares if they are from degree mills)

Hopefully them edumikated people with Discovary will get themselves new jobs beefore the new crew comes in. They will be extinnkt like them dinno's that died over 1000 yers ago.

Well that's what makes TV great. You can just block those channels that are too stupid to watch.

Yee haw y'all...

April 26 2010 at 1:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like Sarah Palin and I'm looking forward to seeing the show.

April 23 2010 at 11:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is bull****
Discovery is making a mistake.

April 16 2010 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To Chris, per your reply. Sorry but I think you are looking at Sarah's leaving the Gov. position in the wrong light. Maybe she did this to protect her family, going to a better paying job cannot be construed as "being bought off". One does what is best for one and family. Why do people fall for the Dem's plot to make you a slave to class, wealth envy. Don't go for this, be your own person, only you should make your decisions> I am pround that Americans are capable of making great money. You, Chris would do it in a heartbeat. Admit it !!

April 14 2010 at 9:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The biggest reason NOT to watch this farce? Sarah Palins record on the ecological front is abysmal. Let's start with one of her favorite saying, "Drill baby, drill!" She wanted to open the Alaska National Wildlife Preserve to oil drilling. She spent nearly half a million dollars of state money to promote shooting wolves from helicopters. She opposed listing Beluga whales as an endangered species. She opposed listing Polar bears as an endangered species. Need I continue?

April 14 2010 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chris's comment
Ron Franscell

Then don't. Wasn't that easy?

May 01 2010 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sarah Palin--the originator of aerial wolf assassination on Discovery Channel??? I THINK NOT!!!!!!

April 08 2010 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Disturbing. Disappointing. Absolutely ridiculous. Big slap in nature's face, wildlife's face and to Discovery's wonderful fans. An abhorrent project at its best.

April 03 2010 at 9:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pale-in is an idiot, energized by the deranged moron, Jerk MacKane

April 02 2010 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lost a LOT of respect for Discovery on this one. They think a woman who pushes for aerial hunting of wolves and pushes against protection for endangered species a "good fit" for a nature-based show about Alaska? Give me a break.

April 01 2010 at 1:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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