Palin’s Alaska Show Draws 5 Million Viewers on TLC

"Sarah Palin’s Alaska," the reality-TV show on Discovery Communications Inc.’s TLC network, drew 4.96 million viewers for its premiere episode last night.

The documentary-style series, in which former Alaska Governor Palin explores the state’s wilderness and lifestyle, was the most-watched premiere ever on TLC, topping the 2003 initial episode of “What Not to Wear,” the network said today in a press release.

Palin, 46, and husband Todd encounter fighting bears while they are fishing, and viewers get a glimpse of everyday life, including Palin doing at-home TV news interviews and keeping boys from going upstairs with their daughter Willow.

TLC has been increasing food and family-reality programming to help drive ratings following the end of “Jon and Kate Plus 8,” Richard Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG LLC, wrote in a report last month. Viewership was up 10 percent on TLC in the third quarter, according to Greenfield.

The initial episode was watched by 1.8 million viewers age 25 to 54, 1.1 million of whom were women, the cable network said, citing Nielsen Co. data. The eight-week series airs at 9 p.m. New York time on Sundays and is produced by Mark Burnett Productions.

Discovery Communications, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, fell 17 cents to $40.23 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have gained 31 percent this year.

Palin’s 20-year-old daughter Bristol Palin has also been in a leading role on TV lately. She’s competing on Walt Disney Co.- owned ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” and fans including Tea Party supporters have been driving votes to help her overcome low judges’ ratings and stay on the show. “Dancing With the Stars” is TV’s most-watched show this season.

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