Bristol Palin’s New Lifetime Show and Hollywood’s Special Treatment of the Palins

Former Gov. Sarah Palin and her camp may be raking in media hits by complaining about the portrayal of Palin in HBO’s upcoming movie about the 2008 presidential election, an adaptation of Game Change. But Hollywood seems to be giving more than it’s taking away from the Palin family lately: Bristol Palin’s just inked a deal with Lifetime to do a new reality series, following in her mother’s footsteps. The show promises “never-before-granted access to Bristol’s real-life experiences growing into womanhood, Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp will reveal how she adjusts to her life in Alaska, where daily she faces the many pressures of raising her toddler son Tripp alone and maintains the close relationship she holds with her parents.”

For all the Palins complain about their treatment by Hollywood, this deal is actually a sign of the industry’s generosity to the family. Sarah Palin’s Alaska started out with strong ratings for TLC, but they declined, particularly in episodes where Palin was hunting or fishing, and TLC declined to order a second season of the program. Her special on Fox News, one of the things the network hoped would make her a star on the network, didn’t exactly sparkle in the ratings either.

And Palin, more than any other member of her family, ought to have been the draw: she was the one who was rocketed to national prominence and national controversy. If she didn’t exactly turn into a television star, even when she was given a couple of chances in a couple of different formats, it’s hard to see why there’d be a strong market for a show about a second-tier member of the family whose main prior accomplishment in the entertainment industry is a stint on Dancing With the Stars and a novelty appearance on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. For all the Palins complain about the way Hollywood treats them, the industry certainly seems generous about continuing to cut them paychecks.