The TV Column: Lisa de Moraes on Levi Johnston and Sarah Palin

By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, March 30, 2010; C01

Levi's re-loading!

Levi Johnston, Sarah Palin's grandbaby-daddy and the bane of her existence, is pitching his own docu-series in which he will introduce viewers to Alaska.

The news comes just days after Discovery Networks announced that its TLC network would air "Sarah Palin's Alaska" in which she will introduce us to Alaska.

Yes, TV is about to erupt in warring Palin-clan docu-series. Life could not get better.

"If I could wave my magic wand, I would want it to premiere at the exact same hour, minute and second as Sarah Palin's does," Stuart Krasnow, the executive producer of Levi's series, told The TV Column.

Levi's show, tentatively titled "Levi Johnston's Final Frontier," is " 'Jersey Shore' on ice," Krasnow said.

Bring on the tanning beds and Snooki-pouffs!

Levi and his pals "put jet fuel in their snowmobiles -- they trick them out," the producer said. "They drive Ford pickups. They don't go on the Internet often. That's what we're interested in about him."

Levi, who was foisted upon an unsuspecting public during the 2008 presidential campaign as the fiance of then-pregnant Bristol Palin, was seen around Los Angeles on Monday in an RV that had been gussied up to have "a party-bus kind of feel to it," Krasnow says.

The aspiring reality TV star and his party-mobile were making stops at various cable networks' offices to pitch a series that Krasnow hopes will be around eight episodes -- just like Palin's.

Monday afternoon, the Johnston party wagon was parked outside MTV Networks' offices in Santa Monica.

Krasnow, whose credits include "The Weakest Link," would not confirm what other, non-MTV, networks were being pitched, other than to say they were all networks that target "younger-skewing networks" -- networks that attract "the type [of viewer] that would not watch TLC or Discovery."

Exact details of Levi's show were being kept deliberately vague, so the project could be tailor-made to suit the purchasing network.

Mothership MTV network, for instance, might want to focus more on Levi's first time on the dating scene in Alaska since breaking up with Bristol, whereas MTV's Spike network might want them to focus on what Krasnow called "the adrenaline activities he has in Alaska with his buddies."

Hey, if it goes to CW, maybe we'll see Levi nekkid on a bearskin rug. And he'll be really buff. Oh, and a vampire.

"Levi Johnston's Final Frontier" was not mounted in reaction to Palin's show, Krasnow insisted, saying it was in the works before the former governor began shopping her program to the networks with executive producer Mark Burnett.

"He's a 19-year-old kid living a life like nobody else's on the planet and in the culture of Alaska -- that interested us. When Sarah Palin made her announcement, we rushed and decided to go out quicker. In a competitive marketplace, it made sense, if Sarah Palin is going to try to own Alaska," Krasnow snarked.

"She may try to tell us how beautiful an iceberg is. . . . His version might include skinning a bear."

That said, Krasnow said he's going to do a show "that's authentic and real -- it's not trying to just be some anti-Sarah Palin show. That is not our motivation. We're showing Alaska through somebody else's eyes -- the lives of real people in Alaska -- and throwing into the limelight a good guy who is poised and polite; a good kid."

But Bristol is going to get the jump on them both. She's set to appear, playing herself, in an episode of ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," a series focused on teen pregnancy. That episode will air either in late June or early July, an ABC Family rep told the TV Column, but there is no plan for Father Levi to appear.

Levi looked the model future son-in-law when he was first introduced to the country at the Republican National Convention after Palin's campaign confirmed that Bristol, then 17, was five months pregnant with his child. This continued until about two months after their son Tripp's birth in December 2008, when the couple split.

Few things in the world are more painful than the realization that an estrangement has occurred between a former future son-in-law and his ex-future mother-in-law.

In December, Johnston asked that the custody case between himself and Bristol over baby Tripp be conducted in public to protect him from Sarah Palin, who he said was "powerful, politically ambitious and has a reputation for being extremely vindictive."

Palin went on "Oprah" and spoke about Levi's "aspiring porn" career (he did shoots for Playgirl and GQ), saying, "I believe he goes by the name Ricky Hollywood now," and adding that she prays for him.

What a coincidence -- so did we! And now it appears our prayers have been answered.

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