Real American Stories was the vehicle that was supposed to deliver big numbers for Fox News while helping to further the Palin brand. The show did win its time slot with about 2 million viewers and 472,000 viewers in the 25-54 demographic, but she was not able to beat the numbers of Greta Van Susteren who also averaged over 2 million viewers the night before, but had more viewers in the 25-54 demo, 503,000, than Palin did. Palin’s performance was even worse when compared to Greta’s Tuesday numbers, where she had over 2.4 million total viewers, and 587,000 in the demo.
This is bad news for Fox, but even worse news for Sarah Palin herself. Fox News is the one network where Palin should deliver big numbers, but even on a conservative network, she under performs. Palin and the show itself were both called boring by media critics. Perhaps the worst possible criticism came from Time blogger Steven James Snyder who wrote,” Playing the part of host, Palin was gracious, poised, present – and supremely uninteresting. The same could go for the rest of the show, which postures itself as a gaggle of feel-good American tales but then runs at a pace and rhythm so brisk that we are unable to dive into any single story. It’s less Real American Stories than A Collection of Real American Short Stories, and it’s because of this superficiality that my indifference turns to frustration.”
Apparently, many of those brave souls who did tune in agreed with Mr. Snyder, as Palin’s show registered double digit decreases in viewers over each quarter hour. The people who should be most nervous right now reside at the Discovery networks, because they just gave Palin a deal for her own reality shown on TLC. If Palin can’t deliver even average numbers on Fox News, how is she going to carry a reality show on TLC?
Networks keep paying Sarah Palin, in order to chase the mythic brass ring that she is some sort of magic ratings draw, when the reality is that she is far too polarizing ever to be a mainstream ratings draw. Sarah Palin is a niche attraction, but most in the media have been too slow to realize that the bloom has long since fallen of Palin’s 2008 media rose.
Fox News tried to play it safe with Sarah Palin’s limited skill set, and they produced a piece of really boring Morning In America television that doesn’t connect with the hard times and reality of many Americans current daily lives. Fox News managed to protect Palin’s image, but they did so at the cost of produce yawn inducing television. The biggest problem with Real American Stories is that it doesn’t tell the story about what is really going on in America today. Sarah Palin isn’t Ronald Reagan and this isn’t 1984.