December 10, 2013 9:50:04 AM
NEW YORK -- The Sportsman Channel said Monday it has hired Sarah Palin to be host of a weekly outdoors-oriented program that will celebrate the "red, wild and blue" lifestyle.
The program, "Amazing America," will debut next April. The Sportsman Channel is in some 32 million homes, less than one-third of American households with television, with programming geared to people interested in hunting, fishing and shooting. Palin's show will include a series of stories about personalities and activities in that vein.
"It's very important to have somebody of her stature as a personality on Sportsman because it validates the whole category for everybody," said Gavin Harvey, network CEO.
The Sportsman Channel has ordered 12 episodes of the series to start. It's the first of a three-series deal between the network and the busy nonfiction production company Pilgrim Studios.
"The network showcases a lifestyle that I love and celebrate every day and it's great to be a part of their team," Palin said in a statement provided by the network.
Since her failed bid for the vice presidency in 2008, the former Alaska governor has worked as a commentator on Fox News Channel and was host of a short-lived series about her home state, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," that ran on the TLC network.
Owners of The Sportsman Channel tried and failed this year to buy its chief competitor, the Outdoors Channel, which airs in slightly more households. The effort attracted some controversy because Leo Hindery Jr., a media executive whose company owns The Sportsman Channel, is a Democratic fundraiser and regarded warily by politically conservative outdoor enthusiasts who worried about what he might do to Outdoors.
Some of the content on The Sportsman Channel suggests they shouldn't be too concerned.
Besides the upcoming Palin series, Sportsman airs a series with conservative activist and rock musician Ted Nugent. Sportsman also airs a TV version of the National Rifle Association-sponsored radio show, "NRA News, Cam & Co.," each weekday and "NRA Guns & Gold," a show about guns styled after "Antiques Roadshow."
Harvey said The Sportsman Channel has no interest in being politically polarizing.
"It's not our intention at Sportsman to take any political position," he said. "This lifestyle, coast to coast, crosses every type of political spectrum."
Another high profile show on Sportsman that ran this summer, "Aporkalypse: 2013," was about the growth in the feral pig population.
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