Sarah Palin and TLC: A Match Made in Demographic Heaven?

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If you were worried that the complicated symbiotic relationship between Sarah Palin and the media (she needs us for attention, we need her for ratings, and we each provide the other with an easy target) would come to an end soon, have no fear.

The Governor-turned-Vice-Presidential-candidate-turned-countercultural-icon has teamed up with Survivor producer Mark Burnett for a TLC reality show that starts shooting next month.

The show will reportedly be a strange amalgam of Dirty Jobs and a Palin campaign ad. According to TLC’s ad department, the show is planning to feature “[Palin] hauling nets with her husband, Todd, on his commercial salmon fishing boat on Bristol Bay, roughing it in a logging camp or spotting grizzly bears while camping on Kodiak Island.”

The move to hire Palin is part of a purposeful effort by TLC (which long ago threw off the responsibilities and the name of The Learning Channel and is now just an acronym) to target the kind of ‘heartland’ viewers turned off by edgier cable fare. “”There’s something for everyone here,” TLC president Eileen O’Neill told the LA Times. “We do shoot all around the country. Our topics and people tend to represent a lot of daily American lives.”

The network is home to American Chopper, Toddlers and Tiaras and I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant. It has also cornered the market for shows about families with large numbers of offspring. (Next to 19 Kids and Counting and Kate Plus Eight, the Palins — with only five children — would appear to be bringing down the network’s average.)

Up until now, TLC’s biggest star has been Kate Plus Eight‘s Kate Gosselin, a woman NewsFeed waggishly notes has many similarities to the former Alaska governor. Beyond their respective broods of children, both are polarizing figures: skillful and outspoken self-promoters who straddle the line between ‘traditional’ and ‘working’ mothers. Could a time-slot partnership be in the offering? (via LA Times, which has more great stuff about how TLC sees itself as the anti-Bravo)

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