(CNN) - "Dancing with the Stars" continues to enjoy enormous ratings – and enormous amounts of controversy and decidedly non-dancing publicity. The ABC competition show will conclude tonight, and viewers will find out whether Bristol Palin can pull off the upset victory. Meanwhile the other show with Bristol as co-star, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," is seeing ratings erosion for episode two.
ABC's overnight ratings for the 8 p.m. DWTS were a 16 rating/24 share – enough to be the most watched program on television last night (the extended 10 minutes did slightly better). The show beat second-place CBS by 39 percent. But as Lisa de Moraes of the Washington Post writes, the program is no longer just about dancing. She interviewed executive producer Conrad Green, who noted the politicization of the program by both sides, and said it was not something he had anticipated.
"I feel sorry for Bristol - she shouldn't have to be doing this under this scrutiny," said Green.
Meanwhile, right-of-center website Hillbuzz.org says they have been gaming the system – not because they like Bristol's waltz, but for more political reasons.
"The real aim of Bristol's Pistols: to expose Democratic hypocrisy on voter fraud and ask why the media is so obsessed with the voting on a reality show but doesn't care about Leftist tampering with actual elections," blogger Kevin DuJan wrote.
Will a Bristol win Tuesday night anger the most ardent DWTS fans? Or will a loss just be chalked up to part of a vast left-wing conspiracy? (Is it even clear that both questions are sarcasm?)
Meanwhile Bristol's TLC show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," fell drastically from its enormous debut last Sunday. The program had nearly five million viewers for its premiere, finishing #6 on all of cable. But two days ago the show was seen by just 3.04 million, and dropped to #68 for the week.
The Hollywood Reporter writes, "TLC expected a ratings drop coming off the high-flying premiere; executives realized some of their numbers were driven by sheer curiosity rather than eagerness to see an Alaska-based travelogue reality show. Competition from Sunday Night Football and the American Music Awards may have impacted the numbers as well."
With the political implications a constant source of debate, it's impossible to see the reality show as simply a look at Alaska and Palin's family life. As she publicly speculates about her own 2012 run, the interest in the show, especially by her fans, will continue. While losing two million viewers from episode one to two is significant, it signals the drop off of the curious observers, looking for the nugget or hint that shows Palin is ready (or not) to make a Presidential run a reality.