At $1M Per Episode, Is Palin's Reality TV Gambit Worth It?

Hey, it's her political future to risk

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Meet your new guide to the Alaskan wilderness: former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. According to reports, Palin will host a Discovery TV series titled Sarah Palin's Alaska. The travelogue-style show will focus on "interesting characters, traditions and attractions in the 49th state" reports Variety. And it pays well too. Palin's rumored to haul an eye-popping $1 million per episode making it one of the most expensive TV documentaries to date. But reality TV comes with risks—especially for someone with viable political aspirations. Will this pay off for Palin and Discovery?

  • A Big Risk for Discovery, writes Joe Flint at the Los Angeles Times: "Considering the broadcast networks all passed and there was only one other cable channel in the running, we're not sure what exactly they won. According to THR, the cost to the cable channel may be more than $1 million per episode which, uh, sounds insane. Wanna bet on whether this thing gets on the air, much less lasts a whole season?"
  • This Will Destroy Her Presidential Ambitions, writes Jeremy Helligar at True/Slant: "If Palin truly does harbor Presidential aspirations, is this the future candidate that she wants to put forward? Someone following in the footsteps of Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian? Unless she can somehow elevate it to the level of high-brow entertainment (unlikely, but with A&E or Discovery behind it, not unfathomable), Sarah Palin’s Alaska would more or less assure her a failed Presidential campaign in 2012."
  • No It Won't, writes Susan Davis at The Wall Street Journal: "The deal is likely to fuel speculation that Palin is not seriously considering a 2012 presidential bid as she focuses on her reality television show. She will, however, remain on the campaign trail. Palin will campaign for her 2008 running mate, Sen. John McCain, in Arizona later this week."
  • Expect Huge Audiences, writes Michael Schneider at Variety: "This... is not just your average unscripted cable skein. The controversial Palin is seen as a mega-draw -- both among her rabid fans, as well as curiosity seekers who might tune in to see how the former Alaska governor presents herself."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.