- The Washington Times - Friday, March 26, 2010

Does she have enough personality and charisma to anchor a reality show from the “Last Frontier”?

You betcha.

Maryland-based Discovery Communications announced Thursday that it has acquired the global rights to “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” an eight-part documentary series about the “remarkable Governor Palin.”

It can only add to her political cachet, according to some.

“This is smart. The programming could create a whole new audience for Mrs. Palin. People will get to know her through a show that has little to do with politics, and that could effectively draw in a whole different type of electorate,” Republican strategist Ron Bonjean said.

“Sarah Palin has the approval of the ‘tea party,’ and many conservatives like her. This project could really expand her base,” he added.

Cachet - not to mention awesome scenery - is already part of the thinking.

“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 documentary filmmaker and “Survivor” creator Mark Burnett, who will produce and film the series.

“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,” Mr. Burnett said.

Mrs. Palin, currently a Fox News contributor and a popular figure within conservative and tea party circles, is equally pleased.

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

Discovery CEO Peter Liguori promises that the Palin/Burnett team “will reveal Alaska’s powerful beauty as it has never been filmed, and as told by one of the state’s proudest daughters.”

Few details about the production and broadcast schedule have been revealed, though the former Alaska governor could earn as much as $1 million an episode, according to some reports.

But there’s something in it for the producers as well: The state of Alaska’s film subsidy program allows filmmakers who hire the locals as talent to get back 40 percent of the wages paid. Productions shot from October to March or in a rural setting also garner an additional 4 percent return.

The series will run on Discovery’s female-friendly TLC Network, which is seen in 99 million U.S. households. Its programming is described as “unfiltered.”

Mrs. Palin is currently working on a new book described by publisher HarperCollins as “a celebration of American virtues and strengths.” Her previous book “Going Rogue,” has sold 2.2 million copies.

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