Media Analysis: 'Dancing' soars, 'Alaska' falls: Are Palin politics at play?
November 23rd, 2010
03:22 PM ET
11 years ago

Media Analysis: 'Dancing' soars, 'Alaska' falls: Are Palin politics at play?

(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.


Filed under: Bristol Palin • Sarah Palin
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    OMG!!! LOL 🙂 🙂 Talk about being a celebrity wannabe with no talent. She even does that little turn around for the camera. Just when you think this family can't get more annoying.
    A phto adds 10 pounds. In this case the porker herself has added 10 plus!
    I won't be watching but if she wins tonight the show is rigged. She dances as if her mother's witch's broom is stuck uo her ample rear end.

    November 23, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Is this unwed highschool dropout running for office or a politician just like her mother isn't? Why not in the entertainment section where it belongs, if it belongs anywhere at all,.

    November 23, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Jay

    You'd have to threaten me with death before I watch Palin for anything.

    November 23, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. stufthis

    I really do not think that a no talent individual winning DWTS can be compared to a no talent governor from Texas being awarded the presidency.

    November 23, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    "Leftist tampering with actual elections"? Then explain how W managed to pull off 11:55 victories in two elections based on dubious results from Florida (2000) and Ohio (2004)? While Bristol is a decent dancer, this season seems to have the same fix in that cost John O'Hurley the competition in Season 1, even though he was the better dancer. As far as the "Alaska" show, of course people wanted to watch the first episode to see what it was like. Did any polling determine how many folks turned it off or tuned to another show before it was over? By the second episode the only people watching were A) the die-hard Sarah Palin fanatics who would watch or read anything concerning her, and B) the folks who are hoping Sarah gets herself into some sort of embarrassing situation. Guess what B folks, it ain't gonna happen. This show it too closely scripted and edited to allow her to be shown as the nincompoop that she really is. Join the rest of the people who decided her 15 minutes were officially over back in November, 2008 and don't bother tuning in anymore!

    November 23, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Expat American

    Alaska seems like a fascinating place. While I’ve never been, it would be great to find the time to visit there one day. However, if I am looking for a program to learn more about the state of Alaska, I prefer it to be free of racial and religious bigotry. Meaning, I don’t need to see Heinrich Luitpold Palin when I want to learn about Alaska. Nor do I need to watch her banjo strumming brood ride around on snow machines killing things.

    November 23, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. Mona

    I issue a challenge to CNN and the rest of the media. Hope other readers/viewers join me. Please try a palin free news diet for 30 days and then check the ratings to see if you have lost anyone. I would bet not. You might actually get people like me back to your newscasts. I check in once in a while now but where I used to watch every day, I no longer do so because I am so tired of the constant palin coverage and the pandering to the tea party folks. The giggle fest by pundits as they anaylze why everyone is talking about palin, add in the controversy about Bristol and whether she will win the race, breathless repeats of every palin tweet and facebook entry etc. Don't you think it is enough. She must have received about 40 million in free air time while insulting the "lamestream" media and refusing to do interviews with anyone but FOX. It's crazy. She is only such a media "darling" as many of the media personalities refer to her because they all choose to make her their go to story. It's unbelievable. Where have the real journalists gone or are all the outlets so controlled by a small number of corporations that this is the real trickle down. Whoever they want to promote gets all the airtime.

    November 23, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    ""Sarah Palin's Alaska," is seeing ratings erosion for episode two."

    Erosion? Now there's a euphamism if I've ever seen one. How about "nose dive"?

    November 23, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Texas Doc

    Just say no. One is a crappy dancer and the other is a wannabe outdoor person. Yes, one or both should run on the GOP presidential ticket, but quit the other stuff, you are unqualified and not cognitiely suited for reality TV.

    November 23, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. martin

    Dancing with the cows is more like it

    November 23, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Rev Mike

    Gee two shows I wont watch! I'll take a plot thank you!

    November 23, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. JustMe

    Will a Bristol win Tuesday night anger the most ardent DWTS fans?

    Yes, but for me it has nothing at all to do with Bristol or even who her mother is – it has to do with the fact that the person who is the best dancer and who has been the most consistent at being the best should be the one to win – that's Jennifer. Bristol has drastically improved, but she should not be the one to win and if she wins then I believe a lot of will be based on who her mother is. I think a lot of conservatives and tea party people are coming out and voting for her as a way of validating Sarah Palin. Myself I'm a moderate and while I am not her mother's biggest fan, that is not the reason why I haven't voted for Bristol – I haven't voted for her, because as I said before she is not the best dancer.

    November 23, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. John

    I watch the first episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska, I like nature etc, but I got really turned off with her off the wall political and poor me comments that had nothing to do with the the outdoors nature of the show.

    November 23, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. One Nation

    So is it about politics, fame or something very different. Because dancing with the stars has nothing to do with Taking Back Our Country "Tea Party!" It is beginning to take the same shape as the war of 1861 and we all know how that turned out...

    November 23, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Nick , California

    I thought that the Palin's hated celebrities?!! Aren't they the "liberal elite"?? Because that's not what "mama grizzly" and those "common sense constitutional conservatives" (say that 10 times fast) and anti-intellectuals are all about! I thought they were just about Jesus and semi automatic weapons... I guess you can have your cake and eat it too.

    November 23, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. NC

    I decided to shuck corn and feed the chickens instead of watching. The corn and chickens was more exciting.

    November 23, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Whatever

    The Palins are always putting down celebrities but live for the camera. DWTS had great ratings before Bristol. Still not sure why she was selected. What is her claim to fame? Oh being an unwedded mother like millions of others. You betcha!!!

    November 23, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. Whatever

    Oh TLC please STOP the excuses. The 3 million watchers are her base and that number will probably hold strong. Probably same number that will vote for her in 2012. You overpaid for that show!!!

    November 23, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Alaska-based travelogue reality show. "

    Ummm..."reality" and "Jabberwocky Barbie" don't belong on the same continent, let alone in the same sentence. Besides, it's not a show, it's a freekin commercial...and opportunity for Jabberwocky Barbie to try to create a false image that she's a rugged outdoorsman while she squeels "woah, this is cool" as if she's never been in a boat on a river before. It's a farce...a charade...to the Nth degree.

    November 23, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. Sammi C.

    Loved the new title, "Dancing with the Cows." Last evening Bristol twice mentioned the "haters" who were against her, fueling her Mom's angry right-wing supporters. No, Bristol, there are no haters: just dance enthusiasts who appreciate talent and good attitude, of which you have little. I'm sure there's a new bestseller in here for Bristol and Sarah – another "cash cow."

    November 23, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Ah Lynda... we can agree to disagree. You say she's running, I say she's not. Friendly wager? Whoever is incorrect writes a public admission on this blog. Deal?"

    This is perhaps the closest in agreement you and I will ever be, Fair. So ... I'll wager that no matter how opposite the spectrum you and I are politically, the two of us CAN agree Palin IS NOT presidential material.

    November 23, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "I thought that the Palin's hated celebrities?!! Aren't they the "liberal elite"??"

    IOKIYAR my friend. Learn it. It explains 99% of the crap we're dealing with in this country and 100% of the crap we're fed from the "news" media on a daily basis.

    November 23, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. T'sah from Virginia

    "TLC expected a ratings drop coming off the high-flying premiere; executives realized some of their numbers were driven by sheer curiosity..."

    I was curious – BUT, did not watch!! I expect it will DROP again!! But what is more NERVE-WRECKING than the show itself, is the media NOT wanting to let go. Even if you DID NOT watch the show, you see it on every news network channel constantly.

    Another problem I have is how the MEDIA commentators praise Bristol on how far she came as a young teenage pregnant woman. They “accept” and sympathize with that when other teenage pregnant woman – especially teenagers of color – get chastised and degraded!! These teens would NEVER have the break Bristol got and would NEVER be able to “dance” their way to success – but they SURVIVE.

    The RepubliCAN'Ts – TP – Far Right has a "double standard" and always thinks they are holier than Thou and so righteous – when they are NOT. That is what I am sick of!!

    November 23, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. James

    The only thing interesting about "Alaska" was Palin's gasping comments to the effect: "I can't quit while people are watching!" as she struggled to climb a rock. She has obviously passed on this bit of (newly-found ... too late for her Governorship) advice to her daughter, who should have gracefully bowed out weeks ago. (Fake a leg injury or something ... just get off the show!) If anything, we will remember Sarah and her children as people who "...can't quit while people are watching!" LOL!

    November 23, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. sandra stellrecht

    I feel sorry for Bristol.. It's not HER fault that everyone likes her and is voting for her. She is a bad situation and is trying to make the BEST of it. IF she were to win....IT'S NOT HER FAULT.

    November 23, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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