The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Mark Burnett – Ex Para And TV Producer: Todd Is Captain America And Sarah..She’s Just Sarah..

Glancing through Sheya’s recent C4P open thread I clicked on his link to Dan Evon’s interview with Mark Burnett, Executive Producer of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” and one of the biggest names in TV in the US and UK . By the very nature of the project Burnett and his crew became very close to the governor and her family and Evon was interested to get a take on his experience.

Burnett was keen to work with Sarah Palin from the moment she burst onto the national political scene in August 2008 and, interestingly enough, he was just one of hundreds who had similar ambitions even after the election when she became, to so many “experts” from the left and the right, an irrelevancy who would soon melt back into the arctic tundra. Hard nosed media operatives like Burnett obviously had a better grasp of her impact on America than the Frums and Parkers chattering away at their Beltway cocktail parties.

It’s a short chat rather than a full length interview but out of it come some interesting snapshots of life with the Palins so it’s worth a read. But two quotes particularly struck home.

On Todd Palin

Todd is like Captain America. This guy, this guy is super tough. He can actually do it all.

On Sarah Palin

And Sarah, you know, she makes comments because she’s Sarah. As you saw in that first clip, she’s just Sarah

She’s just Sarah.

In that short sentence Burnett gets right to the heart of the Palin mystery – something that still puzzles the sophisticates at Tina Brown’s soirees. Palin’s appeal is as much chemistry as politics and it is not surprising that Burnett, of all people, should get it because he also is a bit of an outsider. He is no limp wristed, arty farty pseud out of an expensive private school and ivy league frat house going all radical chic with the boyz from the ‘hood. He is the real deal.

Burnett is a Brit from London’s East End whose parents moved to Dagenham to work in the Ford factory. When he was seventeen he joined the British army and then spent four years in the Parachute Regiment. The Paras are one of the UKs toughest military outfits and Burnett rose to be a section commander serving at the sharp end in Northern Ireland and the Falklands. In the early eighties he left the army and flew to America hoping to get some freelance military work. Instead he worked as a nanny (!), sold insurance, peddled T shirts and did credit card marketing, accumulating a fair amount of money on the way.

One day in 1991 he read about a French survival competition, entered it with some friends and, realising the potential ,pitched it to TV companies. The result – “Survivor”, one of the most successful franchises on television and just the first of many other popular programmes.

So when Burnett calls Todd Palin “Captain America” that is praise indeed. Burnett is the sort of man who could survive in the wilderness on a diet of nails and chunks of concrete so I would guess he slotted quite neatly into the Palin household.

Mark Burnett and the Palins – somewhere in a bar on Mount Olympus Jack London, John Buchan and Mark Twain are looking down and appreciating the moment over their glasses of heavenly whisky.

And Sarah? She’s just being…..Sarah….

posted by david in Uncategorized and have Comments Off on Mark Burnett – Ex Para And TV Producer: Todd Is Captain America And Sarah..She’s Just Sarah..

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