Opinion Brief

TLC: The Tea Party Channel?

TLC is banking on its new Sarah Palin reality show to help solidify its reputation as the "heartland values" channel. Will it work?

TLC's upcoming reality show "starring the queen of Red State America, Sarah Palin" is the new centerpiece in its bid to capture the "non-elite, middle-class audience" in America's heartland, says Scott Collins in the Los Angeles Times. President Eileen O'Neil says TLC is determined to become a "less snarky, edgy" antidote to Bravo and other cable channels selling more sensational reality-TV fare. Will targeting the demographic that rocketed the Tea Party to national prominence be ratings gold for TLC? (Watch a commercial spoof for Sarah Palin's TLC show)

This down-home pitch is a crock: "There's something fundamentally dishonest" about TLC's "cutesy-poo approach to celebrating the 'reality' of middle-class lives," says blogger Hortense at Jezebel. The network is still pushing Kate Gosselin's "creepy and exploitative" show as "an adorable look into the lives of eight children." At least Sarah Palin, "who is well-versed in claiming an attachment to one lifestyle while actively living another," is a fitting model of TLC's phony heartland shtick."The dishonesty of TLC's 'heartland values'"

TLC deserves praise for tuning out the Palin-haters: Thank goodness leftists and radical anti-hunting activists failed so miserably in their campaign to keep Palin off TLC, says Josh Painter at Texas4Palin. TLC's parent company Discovery apparently "understands that such ankle-biters are not among its target audience, but likely watch Bravo instead." When "Sarah Palin's Alaska" makes its debut, Palin's enemies will see that the more they "try to destroy" what she stands for, the stronger she becomes."Sarah Palin's Alaska may be TLC's strongest play for a middle-class audience"

Palin's no poster girl for "reality" — but she'll get good ratings: Americans in the heartland can't "really relate" to Sarah Palin or Kate Gosselin any more than to other reality TV stars, says Chris Spargo at Hollywood Life. Palin, after all, will be shown hauling salmon nets with her husband, Todd, and spotting grizzlies on Kodiak Island — hardly "reality" for most Americans. Still, "Real Housewives Wasilla" will be a guaranteed ratings draw, even if it's also a "guaranteed trainwreck.""Sarah Palin's new reality show will be nothing like 'Housewives' according to TLC!"

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