TV tonight: Sarah Palin is just one of Alaska's popular exports

Sarah Palin’s Alaska is as popular as ever
Photo: TLC/ Sarah Palin's Alaska

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2013 —With three new Alaska themed reality shows making their debut just this month, one has to wonder how much longer the lower 48’s fascination with Alaska will last.

This month “Ultimate Survival Alaska,” “Great Bear Stakeout,” and “Life Below Zero” will be joining the current Alaska themed reality shows “The Deadliest Catch,” “Bering Sea Gold,” “Ice Road Truckers” and “Alaska State Troopers,” just to name a few.

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Perhaps people are so burned out on our fast-paced and technology driven lives that we look at Alaska as a place to escape it all. Or maybe it’s the amazing scenery and unique wild life that pulls our attention to the 49th state.

No doubt some people credit Alaska’s new found fame to Sarah Palin, but the real reason may be a lot simpler than the popularity of Alaska’s former governor. A quick glance at the current TV schedule reveals that “back to the basics” and “survival” themed reality shows are among the most popular formats on the air.

Whether the popularity of these shows reflects our collective fear that society as we know it is at the edge of collapse or of our growing desire to reconnect with nature is unclear, but there’s no doubt the shows resonate with a large part of the population.

Way back in 1867 when U.S. Secretary of State William H Seward arranged for the purchase of 586,412 square miles from the Russian Empire for a price of two cents an acre he was ridiculed. The acquisition was called “Seward’s Folly,” and Alaska was seen as a frozen wasteland with little value.

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Not only has Alaska’s incredible wealth of natural resources dismissed the purchase as folly, its latest boom in the film industry is ample evidence that Alaska is the state that keeps on giving.

For all of the aspiring film stars languishing undiscovered in the lower 48, maybe fame awaits you in the great white north. With 26 reality shows and counting to its credit, Alaska may be the new Hollywood, and the best chance to get your mug on TV.

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

8 p.m.

ABC: Wipeout: (New) Teams of two family members tackle obstacles that include It’s No Picnic, Aunt Patty Cake and Octopushy.

CBS: The Big Bang Theory: (Repeat) : A game of Dungeons & Dragons triggers Sheldon’s memories of Christmases past, while Penny, Bernadette and Amy play matchmaker for Raj.

FOX: Hell’s Kitchen: (Live) The remaining chefs take on international cuisine.

NBC: Save Me: (New) After a dramatic near-death experience, housewife Beth Harper wakes up with a direct line to God!

CW: The Vampire Diaries: (Repeat) The fourth season begins with Elena waking up after her car accident and realizing she died with vampire blood in her system. Now, she must go through the horrible transition to become a vampire or die. Meanwhile, Bonnie tries to change Elena’s fate and pays a terrible price for it.

8:30 p.m.

CBS: Two and a Half Men: (Repeat) Alan is surprised that his second ex-wife, Kandi, wants him back in her life. Meanwhile, Walden tries to make Berta’s birthday special when she would rather not acknowledge it.

9 p.m.

ABC: Motive: (New) Detectives question the ex-boyfriend of a teenager killed in a hit-and-run.

CBS: Person of Interest: (Repeat) Finch and Reese must look to an unconventional source for help after the Machine gives them the number of a successful surgeon.

FOX: Does Someone Have To Go?: (New) Employees have the chance to make changes in their workplace, including some tough decisions.

NBC: The Office: (Repeat) he staffers pair up as faux couples to score a Valentine’s Day discount at a mall. Elsewhere, Erin tells Pete that she’ll break up with Andy when he returns, yet Pete has his doubts. Also: Jim and Pam socialize with the documentary’s soundman.

CW: Beauty and the Beast: (Repeat) A homicide detective teams with a man who takes on incredible but uncontrollable strength when enraged. In the series opener, the two meet for what they discover isn’t the first time.

9:30 p.m.

NBC: Parks and Recreation: (Repeat) Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.) guest star in the Season 5 opener, which finds Leslie and Andy in Washington, D.C., visiting Ben and April at their new jobs. Back in Pawnee, Ron hosts a barbecue for the entire Parks and Recreation staff.

10 p.m.

ABC: Rookie Blue: (New) Nick and Andy go missing while working under cover to infiltrate a meth pipeline; Swarek and the other officers find themselves in the middle of a rescue operation; Andy works to deal with all the change going on around her.

CBS: Elementary: (Repeat) Holmes faces a British criminal, known as M., who appears to have followed Sherlock to New York City. Meanwhile, Joan begins to have reservations about leaving Holmes and caring for a new client.

NBC: Hannibal: (New) Will, Jack and the BAU team hunt for a serial killer who creates a totem pole out of his victims’ bodies.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Alaska: The Last Frontier Exposed at 8 p.m. on DSC

Mountain Movers at 8 p.m. on NGC

Fixer Upper at 8 p.m. on HGTV

Swimming With Monsters: Steve Backshall at 8 and 9 p.m. on Animal Planet

Showville at 9 p.m. on AMC

Monumental Mysteries at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel

Fatal Encounters at 9 p.m. on ID

Swamp People at 9 p.m. on History Channel

How it’s Made at 9 p.m. on SCI

Rehab Addict at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on HGTV

Buying Alaska at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on DSC

Anger Management at 9:30 p.m. on FX

Four Weddings at 9 and 10 p.m. on TLC

River Monsters: Unhooked at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet

Small Town Security at 10 p.m. on AMC

Giving You the Business at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Swamp Wars at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet

How Do They Do it? At 10 p.m. on SCI

The Graham Norton Show at 10 p.m. on BBC

Tabatha Takes Over at 10 p.m. on BRAVO

House Hunters at 10 p.m. on HGTV

Men at Work at 10 p.m. on TBS

Property Wars at 10 and 10:30 p.m. on DSC

House Hunters International at 10:30  p.m. on HGTV

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

American Reunion on CINEMAX

Easy Come, Easy Go on ENC

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life on FLIX

Castaway on FMC

The Fugitive on IFC

Safety Last on TCM

The Black Dahlia on TMC

9 p.m.

Coyote Ugly at 9 p.m. on ABCFAM

Moonrise Kingdom on HBO

The Sitter on MOMAX

Godzilla on Syfy

Later tonight:

Bad Teacher at 9:25 p.m. on STARZ

Take This Waltz at 9:30 p.m. on SHO

Last Days Here at 9:30 p.m. on STARZ

Billy Madison at 9:35 p.m. on ENC

Fast Five at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX

Animal Kingdom at 10 p.. on SUND

Trade at 10:05 p.m. on TMC

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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.


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