To the surprise of no one, Sportsman Channel has renewed Amazing America With Sarah Palin, aka The Show That Caused Many Reporters Who Cover Television To Write About Sportsman Channel For The First Time. The channel, who has elected the former GOP VPOTUS candidate to the new title of “First Lady of the Outdoors,” said the show will return in first-quarter 2015. The first season featured 12 episodes; the second season order is same.
Sarah Palin insists her new reality series on Sportsman Channel, Amazing America With Sarah Palin, will not be political. More accurately, she told TV critics at the TCA Winter TV Press Tour this morning, “Thank God this isn’t political.” It will, however, touch on “protecting our Constitution,” she said during her breakfast Q&A here in Pasadena. What about the Constitution? The Second Amendment. And the First Amendment. Specifically, she said, about being able to say what you want without fear of losing your job, she explained, adding, “We’ve seen that with other networks recently.” She was, of course, referencing Duck Dynasty. Fan Sarah Palin took to social media to voice her support for Phil Robertson when A&E put him on hiatus for an indefinite period over comments he made in a GQ interview, saying that his suspension is an attack on free speech. “Free speech is an endangered species,” she wrote on Facebook. “Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”
This morning, Palin — rail-thin and dressed in a bedazzled top, black jeans and American flag platform pumps she says were ordered for her by her niece McKinley “(Named after the mountain in Alaska, Palin said, which in turn, was named after the country’s 25th President William McKinley) — revealed she eats organic. She acknowledged a lot of people don’t associate the Palins “with the granola type of thing.” And their organic food isn’t wrapped in celophane, “it’s wrapped in fur.”
Amazing America, Palin said, will give viewers the opportunity to “see how it is we live out that Americana dream of productivity and loving the great outdoors.” The show will be about living “unguarded, unchained, and living that Red Wild and Blue lifestyle in Alaska — what America used to be.” She hopes to “showcase people places and things in order to inspire… and restore fundamentally what made America so great ” she said, adding “independent,” “clean” and “free.”
“The Grizzly is unpredictable — and we’ve got the mother of them all,” The Sportsman Channel said this morning in announcing Sarah Palin will attempt to make her reality TV comeback with a show focused on the outdoors. Amazing America With Sarah Palin will premiere in April on the channel that also features an NRA talk show, Antler Insanity, Personal Defense TV, and a series with rocker Ted Nugent.
Related: Sarah Palin Returns To Fox News
The Palin family were Barrymores of reality TV for a period. Palin previously starred in Sarah Palin’s Alaska — it aired for eight episodes starting in 2010 on TLC but was not renewed for a second season though the network called the ratings “solid.” She also showed up regularly in the audience, and was interviewed on camera, when daughter Bristol became an improbable finalist on the 11th edition of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars. Husband Todd, meanwhile, starred on NBC’s Stars Earn Stripes. Bristol went on to star in Lifetime’s Bristol Palin: Life’s A Trip and, more recently, returned for the all-star edition of Dancing. Sarah and Todd also pitched a reality series about Todd’s career as a championship snowmobile racer but apparently got no takers, because the show never surfaced.
Tragic news from Montana today. Gregory Rodriguez, the host of Sportsman Channel‘s A Rifleman’s Journal, was shot and killed by the husband of a woman he was visiting, the Associated Press reports. The shooter apparently beat his wife and, after taking his 2-year old son to a relative, drove to his home and shot himself in the head. In addition to his work on the Sportsman Channel, Rodriguez was CEO of Global Adventure Outfitters, editor of Shooting Times Magazine, and a contributing editor of Petersen’s Hunting, Guns & Ammo. The news is a sad coda to a post I wrote in January citing an excellent report in Reuters. It shed some light on the media forces that influence the national debate by describing how the National Rifle Association either produces or sponsors programs on cable’s Sportsman Channel and Outdoor Channel. That information was newly relevant as national attention focused on policies that might reduce gun violence following the school shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Hats off to Reuters’ Ron Grover for this eye-opening report: The gun lobby either produces or sponsors six cable shows on the Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel, which it uses to promote the NRA‘s views and raise cash, he says. For example, there’s Outdoor Channel’s Friends Of The NRA and American Rifleman, and Sportsman Channel’s Cam & Company, Guns And Gold, and 3-Gun Nation. Each of the channels reaches about 30M pay TV homes, a relatively small audience compared to, say, ESPN. But they reach the right people as far as the program producers and sponsors are concerned. The Sportsman Channel’s programming VP Graig Hale says that it charges premium rates on the shows because they appeal to hard-to-reach 25- to 54-year-old men. Grover observes that a recent half-hour episode of American Rifleman had about two dozen ads “including Crimson Trace laser sights, hunting gear discounter Cheaper Than Dirt and gun makers Smith & Wesson and Remington.” In some shows, including Cam & Company, the NRA is the heaviest advertiser — and ran its controversial recent spot criticizing President Obama for sending his kids to schools that have armed guards even though he doesn’t want to expand the presence of guns in other schools.
The deal will consolidate two of the leading media companies serving hunters and others who enjoy life in the wild. InterMedia Outdoors — which owns The Sportsman Channel and 15 magazines including Guns & Ammo and Petersen’s Hunting — secured $150M in financing for the deal. Outdoor Channel Holdings investors will receive a 25 cent a share special dividend, and then have a choice: They can take $8 for each of their shares or swap them for stock in InterMedia Outdoor Holdings, which expects to be listed on NASDAQ. Outdoor Channel shares are up 3.9% to $7.47 following the announcement. The deal is expected to close early next year; private equity firm InterMedia Partners will own 67.6% of the combined entity, and current Outdoor Channel shareholders will end up with 32.4%. Outdoor Channel CEO Tom Hornish will keep the top job in the new arrangement. The combination “will allow us to better serve the consumers, distributors and advertisers in this robust marketplace,” he says. Outdoor Channel reaches 38.1M pay TV households while The Sportsman Channel reaches 30.1M.