BY: RACHEL D’ORO
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A producer of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” reality series is listed in an application seeking film production tax credits from the state.
The heavily redacted 2010 document names Maria Baltazzi as executive producer of the unidentified production.
The Alaska Film Office does not disclose specifics about productions seeking tax credits until final approval. The Palin show, which debuted in November, is not among those listed as approved by the office.
If the Palin series tapped into the tax credit program, it would mean the show would retroactively be subsidized by the state.
Baltazzi is credited in filmographies as a producer of three episodes in the eight-part TLC show featuring Palin, a former Alaska governor and the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. The series was produced by Mark Burnett of “Survivor” reality TV show fame. The series concluded in January, and a representative for the cable channel has said it was always intended to air for a single season only.
Baltazzi told The Associated Press on Thursday that she worked on the series, and said it was the first time in years she’s worked in Alaska. But she referred all other questions to Burnett’s office, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The series attracted an average of more than 3 million viewers per episode and debuted with an audience of nearly 5 million people — a record premiere for TLC. The show concluded in early January.
The series showed Palin and her family having various adventures in their home state.
It also generated some controversy.
In one episode, Palin shot a caribou, prompting screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to call her a “witless bully.” In another episode, Palin and her family commented about author Joe McGinniss, a temporary next-door neighbor who the Palins said intruded on their privacy to work on a book.
Palin also was criticized for allowing her family to fish close to bears and for presenting the 49th state in a way only the wealthy could experience.
Alaska’s fairly new film office offers incentives including a 30 percent tax credit to qualifying productions filming in the state. Added incentives for Alaska hires, as well as offseason and rural shoots, boost credits to a maximum of 44 percent. The program is open to any production that spends at least $100,000 in Alaska.
The History Channel’s “Ice Road Truckers,” for example, spent nearly $3.9 million in the state for two seasons, earning almost $1.3 million in incentives, according to film office figures.
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