UPDATE: Ratings for Sarah Palin’s ‘Real American Stories’ special were unimpressive, despite the controversy. It drew 2.073 million total viewers, down 10% in total viewers and 28% in the adult 25-54 demo, compared with the previous week’s episode of Greta Van Susteren’s ‘On the Record,’ which normally airs in that time slot.
By FRAZIER MOORE
AP Television Writer
NEW YORK — After an uproar by two big-name subjects of canned interviews, Sarah Palin‘s first TV special aired Thursday on Fox News Channel.
During ‘Real American Stories,’ the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate narrated heart-tugging profiles of Americans overcoming adversity and helping others.
“Heroism, courage, generosity and a warrior spirit – these are things that unite all Americans,” said Palin, clad in a bright red blazer, at the top of the hour.
Stories included that of George Weiss, a wealthy businessman who helps prepare underprivileged students for college and pays for their education.
After the profile, Palin introduced her studio audience to a group of grade-school students being helped by Weiss’ Say Yes to Education Foundation.
“There’s such power in this idea of the voluntary private-sector contribution that George and others now are making,” Palin said.
Other stories told of Jason Dunham, a heroic Marine who gave his life to save his comrades in Iraq, and by Cole Massie, a child with cerebral palsy who was inspired to walk by his service dog.
Palin welcomed Cole, his parents and, of course, the beloved dog for a follow-up studio interview.
“I don’t know what my next goal is,” Cole told her. “With this dog … the sky is the limit.”
But earlier in the week, actor-singer LL Cool J had complained when he learned about Fox News’ plans to use an interview in the show he said he gave to another outlet two years ago. The network consented to drop his segment.
Country singer Toby Keith did appear, as announced, in footage focused on his hit song, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” But on Wednesday Keith’s publicist had said he was similarly caught by surprise on discovering that his year-old interview had been included in the program.
It is unclear when or if Palin will host future editions of ‘Real American Stories.’
She joined Fox News as a regular contributor in January, but she’ll be seen on TV elsewhere. The TLC network recently announced ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska,’ an eight-part series about Palin’s home state that is set to start production this summer.
Watch Tina Fey send up Sarah Palin – with Sarah Palin – on ‘SNL’:
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