Ken Tucker
April 02, 2010 AT 02:08 PM EDT

The canned quality of Real American Stories — tales of uplift about people who help others — seemed designed to showcase Sarah Palin as a good reader of the TV-studio teleprompter and a sympathetic listener to guests in the studio.

Palin introduced and narrated brief segments about good Americans such as wealthy folks who donate money to good causes; a heroic Marine; a family with a son coping with cerebral palsy. These people were portrayed with great sympathy, and done a disservice only in the sense that the narration text and music were so trite, and the individual segments so brief.

Hosting this edition of what will be a new series (Palin at this point was just hosting the premiere), Palin was her usual chipper self. The result was at once heart-warming and a little tedious, rather like your average Barbara Walters “news” special.

The show was a perfect way to present Palin in a non-political context and further her position as a Fox contributor. Indeed, had there not been reports about LL Cool J and Toby Keith complaining that pre-taped interviews with them were being used on American Stories without their knowledge (LL Cool J’s segment was not used), Palin’s version of Real American Stories would have been the most uncontroversial project Palin could possibly have been involved in.

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