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'Sarah Palin's Alaska' breaks TLC record with 5 million viewers for premiere

November 15, 2010 |  2:30 pm


Sarah Palin has once again refudiated her detractors. The critics may not have loved her new TLC reality show, but the former Alaska governor proved she is ratings gold.

"Sarah Palin's Alaska" was the most-watched series launch in TLC history, with an average of 5 million total viewers tuning in to Sunday's premiere, according to early data from the Nielsen Co. That's not that far away from the 5.2 million viewers for the Season 2 premiere of MTV's hit "Jersey Shore" earlier this year.

True, the Palin audience did seem to skew a bit on the old side. Only 1.6 million viewers -- less than one-third of the total -- were in the advertiser-friendly demographic of adults age 18 to 49. That suggests that Palin may still have some work to do in connecting with younger voters -- er, viewers.

But Palin's show - which featured the former governor and her family engaged in such outdoorsy pursuits as salmon fishing and rock climbing -- reached a fairly wide audience despite some harsh reviews, many of which suggested that the TLC show was merely a campaign ad in advance of Palin's presumed 2012 presidential bid. The Times' Mary McNamara wrote that "Sarah Palin's Alaska" "sets a new standard for political ads."

-- Scott Collins

Photo: Sarah Palin addressing a rally in September. Credit: Ed Reinke / Associated Press