The pride of Alaska is a natural to reinvent herself on cable television. Yes, Gov. Palin probably wouldn't rule out CBS , NBC or ABC. But it might require too much explaining for a network news operation to recruit Palin because she might not appeal to a general audience. Cable affords someone a niche, which would seem to be an easier fit for Palin.
And what if McCain managed to confound the experts and win the presidential election? All would not be lost for the enterprising media. The cable networks could then enlist the services of the NEXT-biggest star of the campaign so far.
Obama? No, not even close.
I'm talking, of course, about Joe the Plumber.
The news networks are desperately looking for a gimmick that would give one an edge over the others.
Palin would be a natural as an anchor or commentator, and I write that respectfully.
Of course, I'm projecting that Palin will weigh options other than what appears to be her obvious game plan: remain as governor of Alaska and serve out the remainder of her term. Then, in two years, she can mount a run of her own for the White House in 2012. (But it's fun to consider her as a TV star!)
As they say in sports, she has all the tools. On the stump she has proven to be vivacious, lively and charismatic and, with a large group of Americans, wildly popular. Plus, she'll need a friendly outlet to plug her inevitable campaign memoir.
Sure, Palin has done her share of excoriating the "media," as if we're all the same and not thousands of individual operations spanning across all news spectrums.
But that's what happens under the stress of a high-pressure situation. Let bygones be bygones. It's like what happens after two lawyers yell at one another in a courtroom. As soon as the case is resolved, five will get you 10 that the former combatants will reach an understanding and adjourn to a friendly lunch.
Cable TV channels are always trying to find and capitalize on untapped markets. The Fox News Channel, a division of News Corp., has scored big by presenting programming that resonates with conservative American voters. (News Corp. also owns MarketWatch, the publisher of this column).
Likewise, MSNBC, a unit of General Electric, has made its mark by skewing its shows to appeal to an anti-Fox audience of liberal political junkies.
It wouldn't surprise me if Palin (or her new agent) got entreaties from every cable channel -- up to and including the Food Network. It could feature her hand-me-down family recipes for elk, caribou and deer (and just in time for the holiday season).
Here is how I envision the morning-line odds on Palin's prospects:
6-5, NBC: Then, we'd have the dream pairing of Palin and Tina Fey on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock."
7-5, The Fox News Channel: Palin already has a rapport with Fox. She has been interviewed by many of its stars along the campaign trail. She sat down with Sean Hannity (twice, including a joint interview with McCain), Greta Van Susteren and Carl Cameron.
2-1, The Lifetime Channel: Is there a more suitable platform for a loving, respected mother of five children, one of whom, a teenager, is about to have a child of her own?
3-1, The 700 Club: The flagship news of the is a household name throughout the U.S. Palin could find a very sympathetic audience for many of her conservative views right here.
5-1: Versus: If Palin decided to bolt from the political jungle altogether, she'd have no shortage of juicy opportunities. Who better to preside over the Iditarod broadcast, bull riding, and any hunting segments? Come on! The network's devotion to unusual sports could be a great fit for the former sportscaster.
8-1, ESPN2: The king of X-sports might also appeal to Palin, especially the hunting and fishing broadcasts.
12-1, ESPN: Who among us wouldn't want to glimpse Palin in one of those goofy "SportsCenter" commercials when on-air talent schmooze with sports stars?
13-1, ABC: I'd love to see ABC resurrect a gender twist on "The American Sportsman," starring The Unsinkable Sarah Palin.
15-1, Discovery: Palin would feel right at home talking about the exotic locales of Alaska and Russia.
20-1 VH1: Palin, a certified baby boomer, could be in her element here, too.
25-1 MTV: This network looks even more tired than McCain did at times on the stump. Like him, it needs a jolt.
50,000-1, MSNBC: At first blush, it would be a stretch for Palin to fit in with those card-carrying lefties at MSNBC. But as they say in the ads for the lottery, hey, you never know.
100,000-1:Time Warner's cable news network CNN has been pretty tough on Palin. Just the other day, Roland Martin wrote a commentary on its Web site, entitled, "Time for Palin to answer tough questions."
To the cable channel that emerges as the winner of the Sarah Sweepstakes, I say, Bravo (yet another cable channel in the running, come to think of it).
To the losers, good luck finding Joe the Plumber!
By Jon Friedman