Last night, we learned that The View‘s token conservative hostess, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, will join Sarah Palin on the stump in Florida this weekend. The move promises to be beneficial for everyone involved–Ms. Hasselbeck will have the opportunity to stand alongside her idol in a semi-official capacity, Ms. Palin will pick up a few tips on how to weather liberal attacks, and the sight of the adorable pair frolicking down the campaign trail will surely be enough to inspire any wavering (straight male) Republicans to stick with the ticket come Nov. 4.
But did Ms. Palin have something else in mind when she invited the former Survivor contestant to join her this weekend? It seems she may have been looking for career advice. The Hollywood Reporter floated the idea of some version of The Sarah Palin Show to a handful of TV types and it seems that at least a few of them think that, if running mate John McCain loses the race, the Alaska governor could have her second act on the small screen.
“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.’ “
Of course, the more reasonable types are envisioning her as a cable news pundit or “single-topic host like Tyra [Banks],” but we’re more excited about the prospect of a reality show: “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.”
It make sense, if you think about it! Everyone in America knows that a reality show is the best way for a thin-résuméd personality to extend their time in the spotlight. From what we understand, Fear Factor and Survivor could both easily be set in Alaska, with Mrs. Palin acting as the host. Or, with her new $150,000 wardrobe in hand, maybe she could go the Stylista or Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style route? So many possibilities!
Even Tina Brown is on board. In a Daily Beast column, she writes:
I suspect that Palin is harboring an angry contempt for her running mate and his handlers. The way they chose her in the first place reeked of dismissiveness. When Hillary got whacked, they made it clear that any skirt on the ticket would do, as long as she was sure to rouse the base. Then they treated her as an idiot and wouldn’t let her talk to a reporter. The Couric debacle was just about those idiots giving her the wrong lines. Rove, now bestowed with magician status by both parties, never allowed that to happen to Bush.
The new received wisdom is that when the Republicans lose, Palin, with a supporting Reality Show cast of Todd, Bristol, Track, and Trig, will cash in politics to become a high-rolling TV star. Why does it have to be either or? “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” Lorne Michaels observed. “People always think Americans are easily deceived.” But look at the crowds who still pack stadiums for Palin and SNL’s stratospheric 14 million viewers. Not this election, perhaps, in this economic collapse, but sometimes, as we have learned, Americans just want to be entertained.