‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ Premiere Draws 5 Million, Breaks TLC Ratings Record

By Alex Weprin 

The ratings are in, and it looks like “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is a hit. TLC says nearly 5 million total viewers tuned in to the premiere of the series.

In case you haven’t seen our previous coverage, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” is a documentary series from producer Mark Burnett and starring former Alaska governor and Fox News Channel contributor Sarah Palin.

TLC says 4.96 million total viewers tuned in, including 1.8 million  adults 25-54, and 1.6 million adults 18-49, two of the network’s key demos. That is the best premiere in network history with regards to total viewers, beating the 2003 debut of “What Not to Wear.”

The series had its origins earlier this year, when Burnett and Palin shopped the concept around to the broadcast networks. When the big players passed, they take it to cable, where A&E Networks and Discovery Communications entered into a bidding war. Discovery came out on top, and opted to run the series on its TLC network.

While five million is a great debut for the show and TLC, the  question now becomes what will it draw on a regular basis for the network? Most programs lose viewers from their debut, but some are able to grow due to positive reviews, buzz or word of mouth.

How many people are interested in checking into “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” over the long haul? We will have to wait to find out.