Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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Is Sarah Palin over?

  • Tuesday, July 26, 2011
  • Aruntha Kanagaratnam
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  • US: There was a sense of celebration in the air when Fox News struck a $3 million deal with Sarah Palin, beating out a slew of networks, syndicators, and even Hollywood studios for the services of the hottest phenomenon on the political landscape. But 16 months after network chief Roger Ailes closed the deal in a meeting with Palin and her husband, Todd, the excitement has cooled. Palin’s regular appearances as a commentator no longer move the ratings needle without a promotional push.

    Palin was supposed to host prime-time specials dubbed Real American Stories, but Fox insiders tell me the idea was shelved early on. The first one bombed, losing a chunk of its audience as the show progressed.

    Live Chat: Join Howard Kurtz for a live chat 5/5 at noon ET to discuss the end of the Sarah Palin phenomenon. »

    Palin is a remote presence, beaming in from the studio Ailes had built at her Alaska home when she wants to weigh in, which she sometimes signals with emails at odd hours. During a rare appearance in New York City on election night, Fox staffers scurried to fix a towering beehive hairdo created by an errant makeup artist. But many of Fox’s top-line journalists have never met Palin, and at times the hallway chatter, at least among some of the men, is less about her political future than her appearance. Click here to find out more!

    Her fortunes are such that Fox contributor Tucker Carlson recently tweeted: “Palin’s popularity falling in Iowa, but maintains lead to become supreme commander of Milfistan”—a reference to Palin as a sexually desirable mom, or MILF. Todd Palin, according to sources, fired off an email asking what Fox planned to do about that (Carlson later apologized).

    While Fox says it still values Palin, her relationship with the network treasured by red-state America has changed.

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