Sarah Palin may have brighter future in Hollywood

Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:37am EDT
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By Andrew Wallenstein and Steven Zeitchik

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - As campaign managers for Sarah Palin plot last-minute tactics to get her elected, Hollywood bigwigs are convening strategy sessions of their own. Their goal: finding the ideal on-air vehicle for the vp candidate if and when she exits politics.

Love her or hate her -- there doesn't seem to be much middle ground with Palin -- the 44-year-old hockey mom has captured the public imagination in a way no politician has since, well, Barack Obama.

But as more and more polls cast doubt on the McCain-Palin ticket, producers and agents across the entertainment world are discussing possibilities for capitalizing on her fame, ranging from an Oprah-style syndicated talk show to a Sean Hannity-like perch in cable news or on radio.

"Any television person who sees the numbers when she appears on anything would say Sarah Palin would be great," said veteran morning-show producer Steve Friedman, citing the double-digit ratings gains her appearances on "Saturday Night Live" and "CBS Evening News" generated. "The passion she has on each side, love and hate, makes television people say, 'Wow, imagine the viewership.'"

Although none of the execs has -- at least as far as anyone is admitting -- made direct overtures to Palin, they are readying their battle plans if she decides to give up her day job.

Of course, even if the McCain-Palin ticket loses, the Tina Fey look-alike still has a job in politics for at least another two years as governor of Alaska. A spokesman for Palin did not return calls for comment.

But the candidate has undeniable onscreen charisma as her "SNL" performance proved last weekend. And though the Palin Express sometimes veers off the tracks -- as it did in her notorious interview with Katie Couric -- Americans enjoy celebrities as much for their contretemps as their talent.

Most industry insiders believe a talk show is the probable route for Palin. Although daytime syndication can be tough sledding, it would take a personality of her stature to break through the clutter, and her folksy red-state persona could be just the thing to connect with this female-skewing audience.   Continued...

<p>U.S. Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin introduces U.S. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio October 22, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>