The Palins are creeping up on the Kardashians in their campaign to become the First Family of reality TV with news Friday that Bristol Palin had been cast in ABC’s fall all-star edition of “Dancing with the Stars.”
“I don’t think it’s our business,” Bristol said of her family, when one TV critic asked about the Palin family reality-TV dynasty.
“I just think you guys are going to be talking about us either way, so we might as well be doing something enjoyable and fun.”
“You haven’t gone Full Kardashian,” “Dancing” host Tom Bergeron joked, jumping in.
“No — not at all,” Bristol answered seriously.
At press time, the score: The Kardashian family has six reality series to its name — “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami,” “Kourtney & Kim Take New York,” Khloe and Lamar,” and two editions of “Dancing With the Stars.” (And if you count the two-part, four-hour “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding” as its own “series” it would bring that family’s tally to seven.)
The Palin family now has five reality series under its belt, including two editions of “DWTS,” Lifetime’s “Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp,” Todd Palin’s new NBC reality series “Stars Earn Stripes,” and TLC’s “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”
The majority of the all-star edition’s celebs are former “Dancing” winners. In addition to Bristol Palin, season 11 second runner-up and daughter of former Alaska Gov./GOP VPOTUS candidate/reality star Sarah Palin, the celeb lineu will include Season 10 competitor Pamela Anderson; Season 12 runner-up Kirstie Alley; Season 3 winner Emmitt Smith; Season 1 winner Kelly Monaco; Season 8 runner-up Gilles Marini; Season 2 winner Drew Lachey; Season 5 winner Helio Castroneves; Season 8 second runner-up Melissa Rycroft; Season 4 runner-up Joey Fatone; Season 8 winner Shawn Johnson; and Season 4 winner Apolo Anton Ohno.
The announcement was made at Summer TV Press Tour 2012 in Beverly Hills, and most of the celebs showed up for a Q&A session with TV critics.
Not all of the questions were addressed to Bristol Palin. Bristol just got more questions than any other celeb on the panel. Or, rather, “question” — TV critics kept asking her the same question, over and over, in hopes she’d finally answer it: Why are you doing this show when you say you hate the media attention so much?
“Why would you want to do this again?” is how it was asked the first time.
The first time, she answered that “God provides opportunities like this and you either go out and do them or not do them. The press will talk about me whether I do it or not so I might as well be having fun.”
The second time was when the question veered into that discussion reference about reality TV being the Palin family business.
One TV critic went rogue and asked Bristol if this time around she would “have more love for the gays” — but then, the critic also put the question to Pamela Anderson.
“Well, I love them,” Anderson responded first.
“You know what? I like gays. I’m not a homophobic, and I’m sick of people saying that, just because I’m for traditional marriage,” Bristol answered.
The third — or does this make fourth? — time Bristol got asked The Question, the critic wondered if the “media” really would not have “left her alone” had she, after the 2008 presidential election, decided to “raise your child and find work, or education” in Alaska and “live peacefully” there. That critic wondered, aloud, “Is there shame in saying ‘I like being a reality star’,” rather than going with, “the media won’t leave me alone?”
“I couldn’t tell you what would have happened. I like my life in Alaska…this is a fun gig, and I’m not whining or complaining. I’m going to go out there and have fun…You guys will talk about me, if I’m in my little life in Alaska or in LA, so I might as well have fun with it.”
And, the final time Bristol got asked The Question, the critic asked, “is there anything about all the [media] coverage that you like?”
“Well, like I said, God provides opportunities,” she repeated, adding, “this is an amazing opportunity.”
“I’m asking you about the coverage,” the critic persisted. “Is there any part you like?”
“Do I like to provide for my son? Yes, I do!” she said, casting off the proselytizing to reveal, well, the reality.
Bristol needs this gig — her most recent reality series, “Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp,” about her life in Alaska with her son, is doing so poorly in the ratings for Lifetime, the network moved it out of primetime and sent to late night.
And, in one of those happy coincidences that makes covering the TV industry so heartwarming, “Dancing” needs Bristol, who proved a ratings, and Web traffic magnet for the show in its 11th edition.
Show exec producer Conrad Green insisted they were doing an all-star edition this year because they had to wait until the show had enough of a “heritage,” and, more practically, they “needed enough time to build up the stock, as it were” of dancers.
He forgot to mention that “Dancing” suffered record ratings lows in its most recent season. One TV critic did that for him, mentioning the last cycle’s “historic [low] ratings,” and asked if Green thought an all-star edition was “enough to address that problem.”
Green noted the most recent edition was the first to compete against NBC’s singing competition “The Voice,” which it managed to comfortably beat every week among all viewers (though not among the ones in ABC’s target demographic group: 18-to-49 year olds).