Sarah Palin’s caribou slaughter gets reaction but not ratings

The Social Network and West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin has written a takedown of Sarah Palin’s Alaska, the TLC series that on Sunday featured Sarah killing a caribou, which the network heavily promoted but which was ultimately watched by fewer viewers.

The whole thing was pretty ludicrous, especially when Sarah insists, “the animals have the advantage” and claims she’s hunting because “there’s no grocery store nearby.” While she may actually hunt, the whole thing came across as a ratings grab (on TLC? No way!), but it failed, as the show lost 700,000 viewers compared to the previous week, down to “a new low” after setting records with its debut. People tuned in and then tuned out, although two weeks ago there was a bit of a rebound, perhaps because there was nothing else on that Sunday after Thanksgiving.

PETA, never one to miss an opportunity for publicity, quoted one of its execs in a statement who said that “Sarah seems to think that resorting to violence and blood and guts may lure people into watching her boring show, but the ratings remain as dead as the poor animals she shoots.”

But the best response came from Sorkin, who wrote on The Huffington Post about “the criticism she knew and hoped would be coming after she hunted, killed and carved up a Caribou during a segment of her truly awful reality show.” His argument is summed up in his final sentence: “I eat meat, there are leather chairs in my office, Sarah Palin is deranged and The Learning Channel should be ashamed of itself.”

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.