A&E and Discovery appear to be the front-runners to land the untitled Alaska-themed series, to be produced by Mark Burnett Prods.
No decision has been made yet, as the cablers are apparently still finalizing their bids. Given the talent attached and interest in the show, the Palin project is believed to be in the ballpark of around $1 million an episode.
As first reported by Entertainment Weekly, the Palin project will center on interesting characters, traditions and attractions in the 49th state — with the ex-VP candidate as a guide. Burnett and Palin pitched the show to all four major networks — but given the travelogue nature of the series, it ultimately made more sense for a cable network, insiders said.
For A&E, Palin would fit in with the network’s strategy of reality shows with larger-than-life, sometimes polarizing celebrities. The network, after all, has a show set in the other non-continental U.S. state, Hawaii, which stars another maverick of sorts — Dog the Bounty Hunter. But A&E sister History might also make sense, as one of that channel’s signature series, “Ice Road Truckers,” already takes place in Alaska.
Discovery could also make a logical home, as the channel’s hit “Deadliest Catch” is also shot in Palin Country. And Palin also happened to make a brief appearance on Discovery’s 2008 doc “Toughest Race on Earth: Iditarod” — shot before she became a household name.
According to insiders, a decision could be made in the next day or two. What’s fueling the interest? Even though the show promises to be completely devoid of politics, Palin has a loyal following — and even folks who detest her politics may be curious enough to tune in and see what she’s up to.
This Alaska show, of course, could only be a prelude to a bigger TV career for Palin — particularly if she decides not to run for president in 2012. Some industry execs believe that Burnett has his eye on turning Palin into a daytime star — much as he revived Martha Stewart’s TV career with “The Martha Stewart Show.”
And talk about timing: With Oprah Winfrey exiting syndication in 2011, Burnett could always fashion a Palin yakker as a contender to fill that void. (None of this is new speculation, of course; folks like Variety’s own Brian Lowry have suggested such a move might be possible since the moment Palin exited the Alaska governorship — and in some cases, even before then.)