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Palin’s TV Prospects

In the days after announcing her resignation as Alaska’s governor, Sarah Palin’s decision remains a source of mystery, speculation and debate. But there’s little doubt is that she’d have a future in the cable news universe.

Even before the election, TV producers and packagers speculated that, should she be freed from the constraints of elective office, she’d make for a big “get” as the host of a Fox News show or even a daytime syndicated yakker. When she made her bombshell announcement, one theory was that she had been made an “offer she can’t refuse” from some TV network.

In a world where Rush Limbaugh is treated as the de facto head of the Republican party, with tremendous sway over lawmakers given his following, Palin could do a lot worse than establishing some kind of a TV or radio brand. Freed from the constraints, petty and provincial politics (and investigations) that come with a statehouse job, she could very well wield much more influence from a media platform.

The Fox prospect would be the perfect match, as she has become such a partisan figure that she would, on some level, be freed from the constraints of “Q”
scores. Stations are barely buying anything, and syndicators generally don’t want to take on a persona who is automatically disliked by a big share of the audience. When Mike Huckabee dropped out of the presidential race, he landed an agent at CAA, and then his own show on Fox News. The network’s Greta Van Susteren has close ties to Palin — and has come to her defense in the media storm.

As of yet, Palin’s only plans — at least those announced publicly — are her book, due in spring of next year, something that will surely see her making the rounds on the talk show circuit. Her announcement caught so many off guard that the initial reaction, over a holiday weekend, has been puzzlement more than anything else. But that sentiment is likely to give way to opportunity, particularly in a business ever more driven by polarizing personalities.

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