It’s official: “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” to air on TLC

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Sarah Palin is indeed headed to Discovery Communications — specifically, TLC — the cable conglom finally confirmed Thursday morning.

Discovery said that it has acquired global rights to the eight-hour “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” which is exec produced by Mark Burnett. Doc will premiere on TLC at an undisclosed later date.

“Our family enjoys Discovery’s networks,” said former Alaska Gov. Palin. “I look forward to working with Mark to bring the wonder and majesty of Alaska to all Americans.”

Documentary series appears to be an unusual fit for TLC, which has moved away from documentary-style programming and now focuses on lifestyle series.

But Discovery itself makes sense — as the company is behind programming such as the Alaska-set “Deadliest Catch.”

Discovery picked up the rights to the series after A&E Networks, the other network with a major interest in the project, backed out. According to insiders, once the cost of the series shot up, A&E opted not to submit a final bid.

Discovery didn’t disclose a price tag, but it’s believed that “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” will cost more than $1 million an episode. That’s far above how much a Discovery docuseries usually costs (around $200,000 to $400,000 a seg).

“Discovery Communications is so excited to help Sarah Palin tell the story of Alaska, and to have a great documentary filmmaker in Mark Burnett helping to reveal Alaska’s powerful beauty as it has never been filmed, and as told by one of the state’s
proudest daughters,” said Peter Liguori, Chief Operating Officer,
Discovery Communications.

It’s a homecoming for Burnett, who first made a name for himself producing “Eco-Challenge” from Discovery Channel from 1996 to 1999.

“With a dynamic personality that has captivated millions, I can’t think
of anyone more compelling than Sarah Palin to tell the story of Alaska,”
said Mark Burnett. “I’m thrilled to reunite with Discovery on this
project, which brings together one of the most fascinating figures of
our time with one of the most wondrous places on earth.”

A docuseries focusing on Palin’s extended family might have made more sense for TLC, home to hits such as “Cake Boss,” “Little People, Big World” and formerly of “Jon & Kate Plus Eight.” Discovery execs must have decided that Palin’s popularity among some women would still make more sense on the network.

“TLC is grounded in great storytelling, strong characters, and passionate audiences drawn to extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. We are confident ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ will be another compelling television event,” said Eileen O’Neill, president and general manager, TLC.

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