Discovery Communications formally announced today that they’ve acquired 8 episodes of Sarah Palin’s new nature documentary series to air on the TLC channel. The same woman who championed the term “Drill, Baby, Drill” and sought to limit federal endangered species protections for Alaska’s wildlife will now be a narrator and “tour guide” for the state’s natural beauty.
I wonder how many times TLC president Eileen O’Neill repeated in her head that this was a great idea before it finally made perfect sense.
Of course, Discovery is on cloud 9 lately thanks to a ratings bonanza with their new LIFE series — and it’s no secret that Palin is sure to build upon that success. It’s also sure to polarize viewers — many of whom would rather see the beauty of Alaska presented by Carrot Top than the former Republican Vice-Presidential nominee. Let’s not forget that this is the same woman who does not believe in man-made global warming, recently condemned “the Obama administration’s environmental extremism”, and has referred to the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge as “a flat, barren plain that is very, very rich in resources.”
Oh yea — there’s also that thing with the wolves.
O’Neill characterized Palin’s new series as perfect for TLC as the channel “is grounded in great storytelling, strong characters, and passionate audiences drawn to extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.” Don’t be surprised, however, if the irony of a Palin-narrated nature doc extends to Discovery’s other channels like Planet Green. It’s good bet that the network will attempt to replicate it’s successful “seven-channel” premiere strategy as it did with LIFE.
While terms of the agreement are being kept secret, I’m thinking Discovery probably coughed up close to $10 million — making this one of the most expensive nature docs ever produced. Did they sell out? Most certainly — but the controversy of such a decision — as well as the build up to the series — may pay off handsomely for the network. It’s just too bad it will cost them a piece of their soul in the process.