The Sarah Palin Micro Economy

'SNL' and Others Boosted by VP Candidate

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After seeing ratings dwindle for several seasons, "Saturday Night Live" is back to being buzzworthy, and NBC has none other than Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to thank for it.

Weekend after weekend a born-to-play-the-part Tina Fey has brought back viewers to the show -- first with the "I can see Russia from my house!" skit along side Amy Poehler's Hillary Clinton, then the Katie Couric interview spoof, and this past weekend's parody of the VP debate against Democratic nominee Sen. Joe Biden.

The 33-year-old show's ratings are going through the roof as a result, up more than 40% over last year, and in the last week alone up 23%, with an estimated 10 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research says. The show is decidedly capitalizing on the election frenzy overall, and starting this week will take the "Weekend Update" sketch to prime time on Thursday.

At a rally yesterday in the key battleground state of Florida, Ms. Palin finally made her public comment about Ms. Fey's parody, saying: "I was just trying to keep Tina Fey in business," adding that she is providing "job security for 'SNL' characters."

Now we wouldn't go that far. After all, in addition to her return to her successful return "SNL," Ms. Fey has a full-time gig as a writer and actor on "30 Rock," has reportedly just inked a book deal worth millions and appears in those popular AmEx commercials in which Martin Scorsese tries to talk her in to a time-share in Boca. (By the way, Palin may get revenge via "SNL.")

Still, Ms. Palin does have a point -- there's mounting evidence she's a, er, maverick of a marketing tool who can help boost an array of businesses from travel to porn.

Alaska tourism has seen an uptick in responses to direct mailings and hits on travelalaska.com, and one state tour company has even put together a special.

The Kawasaki brand frames she wears have caused the Japanese eyeglass maker to quadruple sales. Sarah Palin action figures are selling for $30 on Herobuilders.com. (And this doesn't take into account the brisk trade in anti-Palin merchandise.)

With Halloween around the corner, the prediction is that the Sarah Palin costume will be the hottest ticket for women. Stores are being inundated with requests for the costumes, retailers are cropping up on eBay, and websites are brimming with tips on how to make your own Sarah Palin Halloween costume.

And last but not least, Hustler mogul Larry Flynt is already in production of a Palin parody porno flick titled "Nailin' Paylin," which it says is on a "fast track to hit streets in time for election."