Congratulations to 2008 and 2012 also-rans Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, both of whom will be the subjects of upcoming TV/Netflix shows, one of which looks like it might be the best of this rapidly-growing genre.
This is Palin's second bite at the apple. We all remember Sarah Palin's Alaska, which ran for a season on TLC. Her new show is called Amazing America with Sarah Palin and is on something called The Sportsman Channel. On the show, Palin will "take viewers into the life of those living the American dream," in part by exploring the "coolest and most original people, places, businesses, and gadgets that appeal to Red, Wild and Blue America." It's less a reality show than a sort of documentary series, it seems.
As for Mitt, he'll be featured in Mitt, a Netflix documentary about Mitt. Here's how the (movie?/TV?/streaming?/online?) company described the documentary to the Hollywood Reporter.
The film follows Romney’s Oval Office aspirations beginning Christmas 2006 to his initial run to become the Republican nominee in 2008 and through his concession speech in 2012. Given unprecedented access by Romney and his family, Whiteley travels alongside the campaign through interactions with potential voters, preparations for the debates, personal moments with his family and concluding with election night results.
This one actually sounds pretty interesting! Which will be a welcome change from most of the surprisingly numerous TV shows that have appeared in the wake of various failed presidential ambitions. What sets Mitt apart is, in part, subject matter — no other failed party nominee has had a similar offering. But it's also genre.
All of the other offerings fall into one of these categories:
Political Show on Cable News Network
In 2004, Al Sharpton ran for the Democratic nomination for president. He didn't come anywhere close. But he used the run to help rehabilitate his image, eventually landing a show on MSNBC that continues to this day.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was more successful than Sharpton in both the campaign and on the air. His show Huckabee has been on Fox News since 2008 — the same year Huckabee lost his race.
Earlier this year, failed 2012 candidate Newt Gingrich joined the cast of CNN's revamped Crossfire. He seems happy.
Informal ranking: Huckabee, Sharpton, Gingrich.
Show Based on Child of Contender
The most well-known contender-kid to have a TV show is Meghan McCain, daughter of the GOP's 2008 candidate and long-time internet habitué. Her new show, Raising McCain, appears on the Pivot network, which as far as I know is exactly the same as The Sportsman Channel.
But McCain wasn't the first kid on the air. In 2011, Bristol Palin starred in a "docu-series" on the Bio network (which may be the same as Pivot?) called Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp. The network got sued over it, with the plaintiff claiming Palin stole the idea for a reality show about herself, which is weird.
Before that, Palin was on Dancing With the Stars, which did you know that's still on television? It is! Here's who was on it last fall; none of them ever ran for president.
Informal ranking: Palin (DWTS), McCain / Palin (reality shows; tie), Huntsman
Reality-ish Show Featuring Candidate
This is where Amazing America with Sarah Palin's Alaska goes. It's not very far removed from the kids-of-contenders category above, but it has the added benefit of starring someone that people actually care about.
So how do all of these genres fare? Like so, according to our expert rankings.
Overall rankings: Romney, Palin (DWTS), Huckabee, Palin (Alaska), Sharpton, Gingrich, McCain / Palin (reality shows; tie), Palin (Amazing), Huntsman.
Your turn, Sasha.