Friday, October 24, 2008

What's ahead for Sarah Palin, Media Star?

At a time when top McCain/Palin 2008 staffers are already quietly shopping their résumés around, it's not surprising that a hockey mom with mouths to feed (and a new lifestyle to maintain) would be thinking about her post-election future.

Her term as governor continues until 2010, of course, but how you gonna keep 'em down in Wasilla, after they've gone shopping at Neiman Marcus in St. Louis?

Plus, a viable primary candidacy in 2012--oh, don't be naïve!--means she's got to stay productively visible after 2010. What to do?

Here's one possible course that's getting talked around--although it's an ill-judged one, I think:

Love her or hate her -- there doesn't seem to be much middle ground with Palin -- the 44-year-old hockey mom has captured the public imagination in a way no politician has since, well, Barack Obama.

But as more and more polls cast doubt on the McCain-Palin ticket, producers and agents across the entertainment world are discussing possibilities for capitalizing on her fame, ranging from an Oprah-style syndicated talk show to a Sean Hannity-like perch in cable news or on radio.

"Any television person who sees the numbers when she appears on anything would say Sarah Palin would be great," said veteran morning-show producer Steve Friedman, citing the double-digit ratings gains her appearances on "Saturday Night Live" and "CBS Evening News" generated. "The passion she has on each side, love and hate, makes television people say, 'Wow, imagine the viewership.' "

People, people--settle down! If there's one thing the last several weeks have amply demonstrated, it's that, however telegenic she may be and however loyal her new fan base, Sarah Palin's media strength is not to be found in the interview format, where she has to improvise and have information at her fingertips. The talk-show format has chewed up better and tougher "plain folks" characters than Palin--remember Roseanne's unlamented talk show in the 1990s?

What Palin does do well is work a sympathetic crowd with scripted material off a teleprompter. The best solution for her is a ghost-written book (please get it ghost-written--I'm begging you!) followed by a few comfortable years polishing the brand on the $40 thousand-a-pop lecture circuit.

1 comment:

Chuck Butcher said...

I offer my own reasons for her soon to come demise at national level over at my place.