The Discovery Channel will devote an entire week to Alaska-themed programming beginning April 12, promising to "transport viewers to one of the most unforgiving environments on the planet." In fact, this might be the most time any network has spent in Alaska since Fox News' Greta Van Susteren temporarily movedin with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her family. (That's an exaggeration, if only a slight one.)
Discovery's "Alaska Week" will feature special episodes of the ongoing series "Dirty Jobs" and "Mythbusters" set in Alaska, along with the hit crab-catching show "Deadliest Catch." Other offerings will include "Arctic Roughnecks," "Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment," "Alaska: Most Extreme," "Untamed Alaska," and my personal favorite, "Bear Attack!," about a series of maulings (OK, three) that took place near Anchorage over a six-week period. (Free tip: There are crossover possibilities with "The Office" on this one.)
Given the continued speculation surrounding Palin's political future, Discovery is perhaps missing an opportunity. Palin still enthralls a portion of the conservative base, which can't understand why the rest of the nation thinks she's a dunderhead and assumes they're suffering from some "hot for teacher" fixation. Actually, I think Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis nailed it on MSNBC's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" when he said nominating Palin in 2012 would be "political suicide" on the GOP's part, which I guess makes me a God-hating tool of the liberal establishment.
Still, the governor certainly has enough of a base to produce hit TV shows by cable rating standards. So I propose — free of charge — the following ideas for programs that other networks could offer as part of their own "Alaska Week" editions:
— "Media Attack!" (Fox News) — A sobering look at how a politician who can't think of a newspaper that she reads, can't name any reform efforts with which her famously reform-minded running mate was associated and who seems so woefully over her head even many prominent conservatives say she isn't ready to be president is, somehow, strictly a victim of the media. Sean Hannity hosts.
— "Hot Northern Nights" (MTV) — A look at teenage sex in a state where all that snow on the outside heats things up on the inside. Of course, the kind of things you can catch in this context can be pretty deadly, too. Kim Kardashian hosts.
— "Fabulously Dirty Jobs" (Bravo) – Reality series focusingon the McCain PR team assigned to clean up the messes surrounding Palin during the 2008 campaign, whichprompted them to open a combination PR firm/hair salon/matchmaking/second-hand clothing service. Heidi Klum hosts.
— "Russia: The Most Dangerous Neighbor" (History) — What's itlike for Alaska residents to live in constant fear of a Russian invasion that would turn America's largest state into a socialist, Vodka-swilling stronghold? Includes CGI reenactments of what the U.S. will look like under Russian control. Glenn Beck hosts.
— "Mother Bears" (Animal Planet) — Reality series about the similarities between human and bear mothers' behavior in Alaska. Joan Lunden hosts.
— "Deer in the Headlights" (MSNBC) — A retrospective of Palin's campaign interviews, complete with wacky sound effects. Rachel Maddow hosts.
— "Todd and Sarah Plus Five" (TLC) — A reality show about juggling political life with a family of five kids, especially when they get old enough to begin having kids of their own. Dr. Phil McGraw hosts.
— "Polar President" (Chiller) — The title is self-explanatory, but it's hard to think of another one – even the bear-mauling thing — that would be nearly as scary. Jamie Lee Curtis hosts.
If you'd like more examples, I'll try to find some and I'll bring 'em to ya.