Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Palin's here to stay?

No matter who wins the election next week (and you already know who I'm rooting for), we'll likely be seeing Sarah Palin on our TV sets and computer screens for a long time to come. She seems to have become a pop culture hit, especially with the way Saturday Night Live has taken to her, which will assure her a place in Hollywood for years to come. Bulldog Reporter's Daily Dog reports:

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Hollywood Has Its Eye on Palin: Should GOP Fall Short on Nov. 4, Don't Be Surprised to See Sarah Hosting Talk TV

Issue Date: Daily 'Dog - October 27, 2008

As campaign managers for Sarah Palin plot last-minute tactics to get her elected, Hollywood bigwigs are convening strategy sessions of their own. Their goal: finding the ideal on-air vehicle for the VP candidate if and when she exits politics. But as more and more polls cast doubt on the McCain-Palin ticket, producers and agents across the entertainment world are discussing possibilities for capitalizing on her fame, ranging from an Oprah-style syndicated talk show to a Sean Hannity-like perch in cable news or on radio, the Hollywood Reporter reports.

"Any television person who sees the numbers when she appears on anything would say Sarah Palin would be great," said veteran morning-show producer Steve Friedman, citing the double-digit ratings gains her appearances on "Saturday Night Live" and "CBS Evening News" generated. "The passion she has on each side, love and hate, makes television people say, 'Wow, imagine the viewership,'" he added, report HR writers Andrew Wallenstein and Steven Zeitchik.

Although none of the execs has — at least as far as anyone is admitting — made direct overtures to the Alaska governor, they are readying their battle plans if she decides to give up her day job. Of course, even if the McCain-Palin ticket loses, the Tina Fey look-alike still has a job in politics for at least another two years as governor of Alaska.

But the candidate has undeniable onscreen charisma as her "SNL" performance proved last weekend. And though the Palin Express sometimes veers off the tracks — as it did in her notorious interview with Katie Couric — Americans enjoy celebrities as much for their contretemps as their talent.

Cable news is a possibility, particularly Fox News Channel, if Palin wants to keep her conservative bona fides intact. There's a well-worn path between the Beltway and TV, from Pat Buchanan to as recent an example as former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who just began his own weekly series on Fox News.

A weekly cable news berth also could be a less demanding side gig to occupy while still in office in Alaska, though losing the election could dent her credibility among conservatives.

Eric Wattenberg, an agent at N.S. Bienstock, a New York-based agency that counts many news anchors among its clientele, believes syndication is a safer bet. "I could see her getting more traction as an Oprah than as an Anderson Cooper," he told Variety.

Some combination of talk and news could even be in the cards: One agent recommended News Corp. let her hone her chops for a few years on Fox News in anticipation of rolling out a broader-appealing talker over Fox's stations after 2010.

And then there are those who are thinking outside the box, as in reality television. One producer floated the idea — only half-joking — of taking advantage of the curiosity surrounding the entire Palin clan and their Alaska setting and packaging "The Palins": Think "The Osbournes" meets "Northern Exposure."

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