Fates and Fortunes

TV Syndicators Say "No, Thanks!" to Sarah Palin

7/09/2009 04:23:35 PM

It’s been almost a week now and we still really have no idea why Sarah Palin–governor of Alaska and running mate to Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)–abruptly announced her plans to resign, just as most of us were preparing to enjoy a weekend of BBQ, beer and bottle rockets.

Sarah Palin winkWhile there’s been much speculation, one possibility that sounds like it can be scratched off the list is: “Fabulous Host of Her Own Syndicated Talk Show.”

A survey of syndicators reveals that they believe that Palin, while certainly mediagenic, “does not have the skills,” “appeals to too narrow of an audience” and overall is too polarizing. Not one syndicator indicated a whiff of interest in doing a show with her.

And it’s not because Sarah’s a Republican with a capital R. Many American women share her identification as a Republican, Christian and conservative, and these women want to watch other women like themselves on TV.

“If I could get Elizabeth Hasselbeck out of her contract at The View, I would do it in two seconds,” said one syndicator. “I would never invest in Sarah Palin. For me, the fact that she resigned as the governor of Alaska means she’s a quitter. She now has no chance.”

More likely, syndicators speculated, if Palin does have a TV career ahead of her, it will be as a commentator on a cable news network. And let’s be honest: that cable news network would likely be Fox News (although of course we would love to see Palin go head-to-head with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow). The question, says one cable news network executive, is “does she want to have a political future or not? If she does, then it makes sense for her to write the book, get paid for speeches, assist other candidates’ campaigns and maybe appear as a commentator.”

It seems like a safe bet that Palin does want a political future, and she has quite the love/hate relationship with the media: loves to be in the media spotlight, hates it when the media report things she doesn’t like. Isn’t that always the way?

Palin does have some broadcast experience. In 1998, after competing in the beauty contests and before politics, she was a sports reporter at Channel 2 Broadcasting’s KTUU Anchorage. She’s undeniably appealing, with her folksy manner and good looks. And while her primetime interview with CBS’ Katie Couric was an unmitigated disaster and her July 3 resignation speech was full of odd metaphors about basketball and dead fish, her speech to the Republican National Convention demonstrated that the woman can really light up a country.

In the meantime, we’re all still left wondering exactly why Palin felt the need to depart her post now, just 2 1/2 years into her governorship, with 2012 still shimmering in the distance. It looks like we have to wait for Palin’s upcoming memoir, recently bought by News Corp.-owned HarperCollins, to find out.

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