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Bristol Palin, 'thrilled' to be going Hollywood

By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 24, 2010; C01

Is Sarah Palin's daughter heading off to become one of those Hollywood types with whom Palin has so many issues?

Bristol Palin, oldest daughter of the former Republican veep candidate, will make her acting debut this summer on ABC Family's teener drama "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," the Disney cable network announced Tuesday.

The show bills itself as a "heartfelt" series focusing on a family dealing with a 15-year-old's unexpected pregnancy. The younger Palin will play herself in the episode but as a friend of the character Amy (Shailene Woodley) at a music program for teen mothers.

In a statement, Bristol, 19, assures us she is "thrilled to be on this show."

Bristol's career choice may prove dicey -- for her mom.

Sarah Palin risks her anti-Hollywood cred by sending her daughter off to work there -- "Secret Life" is, after all, about Disney making money off a show that gives the Hollywood treatment to the issue of teen pregnancy.

Back in June, in the wake of a sex joke David Letterman made on his show about one of her daughters, Sarah Palin and her husband blasted "Hollywood/NY entertainers" as having "a long way to go in understanding what the rest of America understands" about what is, and what is not, funny on the subject of older men preying on young women.

In her farewell address as Alaska governor, Palin attacked the Twiggy-like nature of starlets and Hollywood's penchant for advocating gun-control laws, in the same thought -- something we did not think could be done.

"You are going to see anti-hunting, anti-Second Amendment circuses from Hollywood," Palin warned in that speech.

"And here's how they do it: They use these delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlets. They use Alaska as a fundraising tool for their anti-Second Amendment causes," she said, adding, "By the way, Hollywood needs to know: We eat -- therefore we hunt."

More recently, Palin recruited Bristol to help her excoriate Hollywood bigwig Seth MacFarlane for an episode of his "Family Guy" in which a teenage girl who has Down syndrome tells her date she is the daughter of a former governor of Alaska. Sarah and Bristol took the joke to be a slam on Bristol's baby brother, Trig, who also has Down syndrome.

"If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed," Bristol wrote on her mother's Facebook page in mid-February.

"All they proved is that they're heartless jerks."

"Family Guy" airs on the Fox broadcast network -- or, as Sarah Palin sometimes calls it, the "Fox Hollywood" network. This is to distinguish from the Fox News Channel, where the elder Palin is now a contributor. Both are owned by NewsCorporation.

Olympic bronze

Seven nights of Winter Olympics last week catapulted NBC into third place for the TV season, ahead of ABC. The games were seven of the week's top eight spots for the week -- though Tuesday's "American Idol," which attracted nearly 24 million viewers, actually beat the Games coverage on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The Wednesday "Idol" -- the one that famously did not win its time slot -- finished in ninth place for the week.

Here's a look at the week's winners and losers:

WINNERS

"Keeping Up With the Kardashians." The delivery of the Latest Little Kardashian in the Season Four finale of E!'s "reality" series became that cable network's most watched telecast ever when it attracted more than 4.8 million viewers. That's about six times as many people than E! averages in primetime.

Ice Hockey. NBC Universal's somehow controversial decision to telecast the USA ice hockey team beating the Canadian team, 5 to 3, on MSNBC instead of the NBC broadcast network delivered an average of 8.22 million viewers to MSNBC on Sunday. That's a virtual tie with the cable news network's best program average ever -- 8.23 million viewers, achieved on Election Night of 2008. What's wrong with this picture?

Tiger Woods's faux news conference. The golfer's expertly stage-managed appearance -- to tell us how sorry he is that he cheated on his wife over, and over, and over, and over again -- was very good for some cable networks. Fox News Channel clocked more than 2 million viewers -- beating all other cable networks, including other news nets and ESPN (1.7 million) and the Golf Channel (741,000). (Broadcast network stats from Tiger's speech won't be out until later this week). But Tiger's performance goosed the Golf Channel the most, relative to its base level. The channel usually averages about 35,000 viewers at 11 a.m.-ish.

"Archer." Because this animated guy-com has averaged 1.2 million viewers, FX has ordered a second season.

"Little Couple." TLC's series about little people also is averaging 1.2 million; TLC has ordered a third season.

"Undercover Boss." CBS's new reality series attracted 14 million viewers Sunday against the Olympics on The Networks of NBC Universal. More scary -- for ABC -- "UB" beat "Desperate Housewives' " return (11 million viewers) after a two-week break. Expect a second season.

LOSERS

"American Idol." For the first time in nearly six years, " Idol" did not win its time slot. It happened Wednesday when it got stomped by NBC, which created the Perfect Primetime Olympics Storm by tape-delaying Linsday Vonn's gold medal women's downhill run to create what NBC modestly called "the greatest single day in Winter Olympics history" because the United States captured six medals. At 9 o'clock, against "Idol," the Games averaged about 30 million viewers and "Idol" limped in a distant silver, with 18.6 million watching.

"Past Life." Past help. Fox performed a mercy killing on its reincarnation crime drama after three episodes and is replacing it with "Kitchen Nightmares."

ABC News break

ABC News is offering voluntary separation packages to all full-time, U.S.-based, non-union, non-contract employees in an effort to wind up with "substantially fewer people on staff," ABC News President David Westin said in a memo to employees Tuesday.

The goal is to cut ABC News's roster of 1,400 staffers by 300 to 400, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. If that many people voluntarily take the buyout, there will not be layoffs; if the buyout package is not well received, layoffs are likely, the source added. "When we are finished, many job descriptions will be different [and] different skill sets may be required" of remaining employees, Westin said in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The TV Column.

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