LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Sarah Palin’s Alaska premieres tonight on TLC, but what is it? Critics call Sarah Palin’s Alaska a big infomercial, viewers may think it’s a reality show. Sarah Palin says it’s neither. It’s a “documentary” about Alaska, claims Palin.
When asked what she thinks of appearing in a reality tv show for TLC, Sarah Palin shot back at news recently and said “Now, lookit! I’m not in a reality show. I have eight episodes documenting Alaska’s resources.”
In truth, Palin is correct. The artfully crafted concept for the show fits exactly into the strategy of Discovery / TLC programing. The show is for the most part about one family’s interaction with Alaska’s wildlife. There is no political chatter in this show. Producers claim there are very few scenes detailing the Palin family at home. Rather the show is about how the Palins interact with the wonders of their state.
And in true form, TLC / Discovery pull off amazing footage each episode.
That was the approach for series producer Mark Burnett (Survivor). He said that episodes will focus on trips by Sarah and husband Todd. “It would start out with, ‘We’re gonna have Sarah and Todd do something,’ . And as she’s getting ready, she would say, ‘Piper, you want to come? Willow, you want to come?’ Take the politics away, and this is a family, and they hang out a lot together.”
But will viewers agree? While the show does depict Alaska, it’s really focus is the depiction of the Palin family. Along the way, even Kate Gosselin stops by with her eight kids.
“[Sarah Palin] is such a high-profile, engaging character that it made sense to be part of our brand, where we’ve really brought ordinary and extraordinary characters to life,” said TLC President Eileen O’Neill in a statement to news this week.
If you don’t like Sarah Palin, you probably won’t like the show. But with a nation split about the Palins, that could still mean big ratings. “Sarah Palin is real” says Glenn Selig, a crisis management PR expert and founder of the PR firm, The Publicity Agency. “She does not pretend to be someone she isn’t.There are many people who don’t like her politics, but like her as a person. I believe the extra exposure may help, but certainly won’t hurt. She is already an atypical politician and the Sarah Palin reality show may attract new support for a presidential candidacy.”
The latest Gallup poll found that 52% of Americans look upon Palin unfavorably, 40% favorably. But insiders expect the series to premiere with huge ratings tonight.