The Sarah Palin-hosted "Real American Stories" debuted on Fox News last night, and the reviews are less than glowing.
In the New York Times, Ahahad O'Connor writes that the "relatively tame" broadcast featured the Fox News contributor "clearly reading from a teleprompter at times, but appeared relaxed and natural -- almost more comfortable than she sometimes appeared on the campaign trail -- when interviewing guests."
The Times' Alessandra Stanley said Palin "retreated into canned television formula," deeming the broadcast a letdown.
"Ms. Palin, who mostly narrated taped stories about inspiring Americans -- a war hero, a philanthropist, a boy with cerebral palsy and his service dog -- gave a competent, but generic performance, as cheery and bland as any news anchor's in the mainstream media she deplores," wrote Stanley.
In the Los Angeles Times, Mary McNamara writes that "surely only the most jaded among us could object to a television show devoted to inspiring tales of "real Americans," among them a heroic Marine and a millionaire who paid for the college education of thousands of children.
And yet: "As a host, Palin brings little besides her name and all that it has come to mean. Despite her time on the campaign trail and in front of often-unfriendly cameras, Palin still has an eyes-locked-on-the-teleprompter stiffness."
In the Washington Post, Hank Stuever writes that he wasn't sure what to make of the show.
"The debut on the Fox News Channel of Sarah Palin's 'Real American Stories' Thursday night turned out to be like one of those shows that's on when nothing's on and yet there is air to fill -- like infotainment you sometimes see on empty channels in hotel rooms, or the stuff that's playing on the little TV screen at the gas pump nearest the rental-car center," he writes. "What are we watching exactly? (A commercial? News?)"
Deeming the show a "letdown," he adds: "No hopey-changey. No missed cues. Palin's show, which Fox News will air 'periodically,' is innocuous, flat and political in only the most coded of ways. It's like a Barbara Walters special for that particular media consumer who always complains that they never report any good news."
In the New York Daily News, Palin's show got two stars out of five, though the low rating was ascribed to the production, not the host.
"Palin is disconnected from the show," writes Richard Huff. "Having her follow the taped pieces with interviews gives the production the feel of a telethon, without the pitch for money." (Many of the interviews were taped a year ago or more; LL Cool J complained when he learned that an interview with him would be used, and he was subsequently dropped from the show.)
In Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker called the show "no worse than a Barbara Walters special."
"The canned quality of Real American Stories -- tales of uplift about people who help others -- seemed designed to showcase Sarah Palin as a good reader of the TV-studio teleprompter and a sympathetic listener to guests in the studio," he writes.If Palin Ditches RNC, Will Money Follow Her?