TLC will air Sarah Palin’s Alaska; Palin will receive around $250,000 per episode

TLC has acquired the reality show that Sarah Palin and Mark Burnett had been shopping to networks.

Currently titled Sarah Palin’s Alaska, it is described in a press release as “a new eight-part documentary series about the remarkable Governor Palin and her home state of Alaska.”

Discovery COO Peter Liguori said in the release that his company “is so excited to help Sarah Palin tell the story of Alaska, and to have a great documentary filmmaker in Mark Burnett helping to reveal Alaska’s powerful beauty as it has never been filmed, and as told by one of the state’s proudest daughters.”

The Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes points out that “[o]nly time will tell whether doing this new series will put at further risk Palin’s anti-Hollywood cred. The announcement comes nearly one month to the day after it was announced Palin’s daughter Bristol was heading off to become one of those Hollywood types with whom Palin has so many issues. Bristol will make her acting debut this summer on ABC Family’s teener drama ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’ which is produced by Hollywood mega-conglomerate Disney and which gives the Hollywood treatment to the issue of teen pregnancy.”

Update: The Daily Beast reports that Sarah Palin will receive “roughly $250,000 per episode, or $2 million in total,” for eight episodes, and overall, “TLC is paying between $800,000 and $1.2 million per episode for the show.”

Compared to the $300,000 per episode TLC reportedly paid for Jon & Kate Plus Eight, that’s pretty expensive. Here’s how that breaks down: “The bulk of it goes to production costs, which television industry executives and talent agents say should run between $500,000 and $600,000 per episode for a show of this nature. Using $1 million per episode–the midpoint of the rumored price range–as a baseline leaves between $400,000 and $500,000 for Palin and Burnett to split. Assuming an equal partnership between producer and talent, that equates to between $200,000 and $250,000 per episode, or between $1.6 million and $2 million, for the entire series for each.”

Discovery Communications Acquires Sarah Palin’s Alaska [TLC press release]
Palin’s Alaska Pay Day [The Daily Beast]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.