CBS 'Early Show' Promotes Levi Johnston Pitch for Reality Show
Later, Smith further teased: "Johnston's quest to follow in Sarah Palin's foot steps and hold political office." Introducing the report, fill-in co-host Erica Hill remarked how Johnston would "be chasing Sarah Palin's legacy." Correspondent Priya David-Clemens discussed the show as if it was about to go on the air: "He's inked a reality show deal that will be all Levi and no Bristol. The new show, called 'Loving Levi: The Road to the Mayor's Office,' will follow the young father as he campaigns for the top job in his hometown of Wasilla, Alaska." In fact, as the New York Times reported, the show is simply an idea being pitched by Johnston and producers but has not been picked up any network yet.
David-Clemens touted a description of the proposed show: "In a statement to 'Us Weekly,' the show's executive producer said, quote, 'he'll give us a real inside look into who he is as a father, a skilled hunter, an avid dirt biker, and, of course, his journey down the road of small town politics, right after he gets his high school diploma.'"
Following the story, Hill noted: "And he [Johnston] was asked at one point what his ideas for Wasilla are. The answer, 'you'll have to wait for the show.'" Smith remarked: "I wonder where his – where his politics are? Left, center, Right?" Hill responded: " I am absolutely intrigued."
In contrast to the Early Show, ABC's Good Morning America only offered a 15-second news brief to the topic in the 8:00AM ET hour, instead of a three-minute segment. GMA news reader JuJu Chang reported: "And finally, looking to extend his moment in the spotlight, Palin family nemesis Levi Johnston is jumping into politics. Johnston's manager says he's planning to run for city council or mayor in his hometown of Wasilla. All that for a new reality show." NBC's Today skipped the story.
Here is a full transcript of the August 10 Early Show segment:
HARRY SMITH: And on a much lighter note, Levi Johnston isn't letting his second breakup with – in case anybody's keeping score – with Bristol Palin slow him down. He's going to star in a new reality show and it's all about him running for mayor of Wasilla. That's right, he's gunning for his would-have-been mother-in-law's old job. Did I get that right?
ERICA HILL: Which came first, the show or the campaign?
SMITH: Oh, I wonder?
SMITH: Coming up next, Levi Johnston's quest to follow in Sarah Palin's foot steps and hold political office.
ERICA HILL: Just one week after Bristol Palin dumped Levi Johnston because, as she said, he was obsessed with the limelight, it turns out, well, he's got his own reality show. Only this one has a Wasilla twist. He'll be chasing Sarah Palin's legacy. Correspondent Priya David-Clemens has more.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: "Loving Levi;" Johnston Runs for Mayor, Gets Reality Show]
PRIYA DAVID-CLEMENS: When Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston announced their engagement-
BRISTOL PALIN: He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
DAVID-CLEMENS: -rumors of a reality show quickly followed suit.
BONNIE FULLER [EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, HOLLWOODLIFE.COM]: Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are a perfect example of new reality stars. They already have a little fame as a result of being related to Sarah Palin.
DAVID-CLEMENS: The two recently went their separate ways. Bristol says Levi's hunger for the spotlight was partly to blame. Now he's inked a reality show deal that will be all Levi and no Bristol. The new show, called 'Loving Levi: The Road to the Mayor's Office,' will follow the young father as he campaigns for the top job in his hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. In a statement to 'Us Weekly,' the show's executive producer said, quote, 'he'll give us a real inside look into who he is as a father, a skilled hunter, an avid dirt biker, and, of course, his journey down the road of small town politics, right after he gets his high school diploma.' He's part of the latest reality in reality TV. People trying to cash in and create industries based solely on their stints on these shows. The most successful example, Kim Kardashian. She's built a brand that earns more than $5 million a year.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Like what is the point of this?
KIM KARDASHIAN: What do you mean what is the point of this? You want to know what your boyfriend's up to.
DAVID-CLEMENS: But if Levi hopes to replicate Kardashian, he'll have to make small town politics into big time TV.
FULLER: The new reality stars are like 'come on in, come take my picture, come in my house. See what I look like without my clothes on.'
DAVID-CLEMENS: Given his track record of photo shoots, that's something Levi may not have a problem with. Priya David-Clemens, CBS News, Los Angeles.
HILL: There's a lot going on in this story. Two of my favorite tidbits.
HARRY SMITH: Yes?
HILL: They approached him with the idea. So at first he said 'I don't really know about this' and then he thought 'maybe I've got something here.'
SMITH: Okay, right.
HILL: And he was asked at one point what his ideas for Wasilla are. The answer, 'you'll have to wait for the show.'
SMITH: I wonder where his – where his politics are?
HILL: I am absolutely intrigued.
SMITH: Left, center, Right?
HILL: Well, he calls himself half Hollywood, half redneck, so I don't know what of marriage that gets you.
SMITH: And avid dirt biking.
HILL: Avid, not just a dirt biker.
SMITH: That's right, that was what jumped out at me. Because if you're putting in a political resume, if it just said dirt biking, I mean, why would you vote for a guy like that?
HILL: But if it's avid-
SMITH: I think that's-
JEFF GLOR: When you're avid about it-
HILL: I think there is more to Levi Johnston than meets the eye. We've seen just about all we can.
SMITH: No mas.