|Standing by her man. Lisa Rose/NBC|
BEVERLY HILLS, CA–These bleary eyes have seen strange sights but the strangest I ever did see, was the night Sarah Palin stole the show from a monkey and NBC.
And I’ve seen some strange sights. I’ve seen grown men struggle to get a usable quote from Ozzy Osbourne. I’ve seen Jay Leno, disguised as a reporter, gooning the head of his own network. I’ve seen Lifetime attempt to impose a cash bar.
Tuesday night’s NBC cocktail reception may go down as the oddest press tour sight of them all. There, poolside, was the former Alaskan governor and vice presidential candidate, perched on expensive, five-inch heels. (TV Guide Canada’s Amber Dowling got the scoop from Palin that her gladiators were “on consignment.” Read Dowling’s detailed party take here.) If looking good is the best revenge, Palin just bought the White House.
We were right there, at Trader Vics, and her hair was perfect. Her sage green dress hugged her like a long lost cousin. Her face was placid and serene behind her gilded, Cito Gaston-ish shades. Her plunging neckline gave new meaning to the term, “Oval Office.”
What the heck was she doing at a TV network party? This was no Tea Party.
Palin was there to support her husband, Todd, one of the celebrity participants in NBC’s army-themed reality series Stars Earn Stripes (Aug. 13 on NBC and Global). The Alaskan outdoorsman “kicks ass” on the grueling reality show according to celebrity competitor Terry Crews (Everybody Hates Chris and coming up Sunday on The Newsroom). Eva Torres, Laila Ali, Nick Lachey, Dean Cain and Picabo Street are among the other players.
The series is from heavyweight executive producers Dick Wolf and Mark Burnett and will premiere right after the Olympics. Burnett produced Sarah Palin’s Alaska, and his involvement, says Todd, was a big reason he signed on for the adventure.
Palin was pretty darn proud of her hubby. “He’s got all the physicality, you guys will be surprised,” said the former Governor, who seemed pretty okay with all the press attention when approached. She doubts she could leap out of helicopters or do the maneuvers Todd pulls off on the six episode series. “I would have to do a whole lot of push ups,” she says, although, she added when prodded, “Politics is pretty brutal, too.”
Todd said the experience was “life changing,” especially getting to hang out with real life soldiers. Overall he was happy to “shed light on our first responders.”
|Crystal The Monkey (left). Michelle Lomack/City|
Asked if he had done any hunting or fishing in Canada, he said he drove the Alaska highway four times last year. “I enjoy going to Canada–my dad’s dad is from Canada,” he said.
He even played a little hockey in The Yukon and remembers outdoor games when they had to shovel snow off the ice and wear extra long johns. “It was 35 below,” he recalled.
NBC had several stars from their other new fall series at the cocktail party. Winnipeg-native Tracy Spiridakos was there with the cast of the upcoming action hour Revolution. Matthew Perry was poolside along with the cast of his new therapy session sitcom Go On. Tyler Labine is among the stars of Animal Practice, a new comedy which features a monkey.
Crystal The Monkey was at the Hilton and her handler Tom was encouraging press to take pictures. The capuchin monkey is quite a ham and takes orders like you wouldn’t believe. After she sat on my head for a while, Tom announced it was time to change her diaper. First time a cast member had done that to a critic–usually it’s the other way around.
|Go On cast Brett Gelman, Karey Nixon, Matthew Perry, Laura Benanti, Tyler
James Williams at NBC’s poolside party. Chris Haston/NBC