Here we go again. America’s favorite half-term governor and failed Vice-Presidential candidate has scored herself another documentary television series. The Sportsman Channel announced on Monday that Sarah Palin will host a new television series starting this April. The series will be titled ‘Amazing America with Sarah Palin‘ (is that REALLY the name) and supposedly feature the former governor of Alaska speaking to everyday Americans about their love of the outdoors.
Now, let’s face it, this is going to be a reality show. You can try to call it a documentary series or nature show or whatever you want, but it is going to be a reality show with Palin doing Palin things. We are going to see her ‘bond’ with people from the ‘real America.’ She will be shown hunting, fishing and hiking in the reddest of the red states. We will get to see her being totally at home with other great patriots who totally understand her love of God and country. She will do everything she can to sell the one product she knows how to sell: herself.
The problem here is that the Sportsman Channel has almost no audience. Last quarter, they averaged 24,000 viewers a day during prime time. That is abysmally low. It is one of the least-watched channels that is rated by Nielsen. It also is only available to about a third of the total cable audience. Palin doesn’t like being in a small pond. She doesn’t like not getting a ton of attention. And that is what is going to happen with her show next spring. It isn’t going to bring in a lot of viewers and that is not going to make the ‘Mama Grizzly’ happy.
The fact is, it is almost a certainty that Palin will quit this show before, or just after, the first season is done. While I will guess that she will bring in more viewers than Sportsman is used to for the time slot, those numbers will drop off with each subsequent episode and the minuscule numbers won’t satisfy her. Sportsman might be happy with the end result, as Palin’s fans will bring in some more viewers than they normally get, but Palin herself will be angry when she sees that her viewers will be numbered in the tens of thousands, not in the millions.
Sarah Palin tends to think of herself as a big-time commodity and that she is extremely popular. She also believes herself to be a major political figure that is looked at as a person of ideas. Because of that, her show will be dripping with her own little political messages and advocacy. And it will grate on people tuning in very quickly. Even a channel like Sportsman, which probably appeals almost exclusively to a conservative audience, will find its viewers tiring of Palin’s shtick quickly. This is what happened with Palin’s last two forays into the reality show universe.
In late 2010, Palin and her family scored a show on TLC called ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska.’ As TLC already had a pretty nice built-in audience, and Palin was riding somewhat high on her Tea Party status at the time, the series scored a pretty nice opening, as the first episode brought in nearly 5 million viewers. However, the very next episode only brought in 3 million viewers, and by the end of the season’s nine-episode run, the ratings were less than half of the first episode. Palin did not come back for another season.
Her daughter, Bristol, also had a reality show, this time on Lifetime. The show, Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp, did abysmal ratings from the outset, never bringing in more than few hundred thousand viewers. While Sarah Palin wasn’t the star, she did appear on multiple episodes and her name was used to push the show’s marketing. Reviews were as bad as the ratings, as the major complaint was that it was supposed to center around a young mother’s struggles, but instead was a stereotypical reality show showing Bristol enjoying expensive adventures while living in a mansion. Lifetime ended up canceling it early on and moving the final episodes of the season out of prime time.
It would shock me to a great degree if Palin finishes out one season of this show. Sticking with something just isn’t in her nature. What is in her nature is quitting.