Palin and Burnett Reality Show: One Network Passes

“Planet Earth”-style series likely to meet resistance from broadcasters. Will it be too expensive for cable?

Sarah Palin and Mark Burnett are shopping an Alaskan-themed unscripted series to networks this week — but at least one broadcaster is already likely to pass on the project.

The former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor pitched a concept for a "Planet Earth"-style series to ABC, CBS and Fox within the past 24 hours, network insiders confirmed Wednesday. But one of those outlets has already indicated it won’t be biting.

ABC has decided the project isn’t a right fit and won’t be pursuing it, a person familiar with the network’s reaction to the pitch told TheWrap.

Details of the Palin-Burnett idea, first reported by Entertainment Weekly’s Lynette Rice, remain a bit murky — particularly the extent to which Palin and her family would be on-camera. The magazine indicated the series would mirror Discovery’s "Planet Earth," with the focus on Palin’s Alaskan homeland.

ABC’s disinterest in the project isn’t surprising given what’s known of the concept, which seems to lack the sort of big idea or hook generally needed for a broadcast network reality show. And while Palin has a solid base of conservative fans, giving a possible 2012 presidential contender a primetime forum a year or so before campaigning is likely to begin for the GOP nomination could invite all sorts of headaches for a host network.

Palin and Burnett could have more luck at a cable network, with a host of outlets — from Travel Channel to Discovery — logical homes for a nature-themed series. But the combination of Burnett and Palin probably wouldn’t be cheap, possibly forcing Burnett to scale down the scope of the idea.

NBC executives will meet with Palin and Burnett Thursday, EW said.