LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bristol Palin says she is just a “grounded, normal mom”, and is hoping her new reality TV show will prove it.
“Life’s a Tripp”, which premieres on the Lifetime channel on Tuesday, June 19, is being promoted as an inside look at the life of “America’s most famous teen mom” in the face of intense media scrutiny.
It follows the eldest daughter of polarizing conservative politician Sarah Palin as she embarks on her latest adventure - a move from her Wasilla, Alaska hometown to a Los Angeles mansion owned by a family friend, and back again - along with her young son Tripp.
“People are going to see the real Bristol in this show,” Palin, now 21, told the “Good Morning America” TV news and chat show. “I’m just a grounded, normal mom.”
Palin burst onto the national scene four years ago in what she now calls “one of the most intense and embarrassing ways possible” as the accidentally pregnant, unmarried 17-year-old daughter of the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate.
She has since parlayed her notoriety into a lucrative career as a speaker on teen pregnancy prevention, a somewhat tongue-tied stint on “Dancing With the Stars”, a 2011 memoir, a controversial blog, and now her own 10-episode reality show.
“Bristol really didn’t hold back. As the series progresses, she really opens up her life to us,” Matt Lutz, one of the show’s producers, told Reuters.
“We see her relationship with her son, with her family, her boyfriend, we see her struggles as a single mom, and struggling dealing with her ex-fiancé Levi Johnston and his role in Tripp’s life. It’s really a no-holds-barred look at Bristol’s life,” Lutz said.
Early episodes of the show see Bristol doing volunteer work for a few weeks at small Los Angeles charity “Help the Children”, while her 17-year-old sister Willow takes care of 3-year-old Tripp - until Willow gets fed up and packs her bags for Wasilla.
In between times, the sisters hang out at cafes, take Tripp to playgrounds, argue over childcare and disparage L.A’s trashier clothing styles while shopping.
Bristol Palin also rides a mechanical bull during a night out with friends in a Hollywood bar, and she runs into a heckler who calls her mother evil and a whore.
The heckler this week filed a lawsuit accusing Palin of defamation for citing the 2011 incident in her decision to leave Los Angeles and accusing Lifetime of filming him without permission.
Clearly ill at ease in the Hollywood spotlight, Palin moved back to Alaska after about three months of filming, and the show returns with her to follow her life back home.
The larger Palin clan of five children and mom Sarah, who were seen in last year’s reality series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”, are also featured, producers say.
“Once we head back to Alaska, you see her in her natural environment with her family. I think the later episodes are more representative of her life but the first few are her having an experience and an adventure in Los Angeles,” said Lutz.
That adventure wasn’t Bristol Palin’s first solo effort. She bought a house in Phoenix, Arizona in late 2010 but rented it out after a few months before selling it in the spring of 2012.
The series has a nomadic history of its own. It was first planned as a show about Palin sharing an L.A. apartment with her “Dancing With the Stars” pal Kyle Massey and his actor brother Chris and was expected to air on the BIO channel in 2011.
BIO scrapped it and Lifetime took over, retooling it as a series focusing on Palin and her son.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Dale Hudson