Is Sarah Palin a real-life "Lifetime" movie?

If you really want to know what's going through the mind of Sarah Palin, you could talk to psychologists about the effects of being suddenly thrust into the limelight. Or you could ring up parenting specialists on how she should talk to 17-year-old daughter Bristol about sex, pregnancy and parenting. Perhaps female politicians--established greats like Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Pelosi--have the best viewpoint.

But if you want a more dramatic angle about Sarah Palin, talk to Lifetime Television. They're the go-to source for women who want to relax in front of the TV, watching stories about high-school sweethearts, pregnant teens, powerful women or converted beauty queens. These are the same stories playing out at this week's Republican National Convention, where, conveniently enough, Lifetime is hosting events for their Every Woman Counts campaign (following similar events at the D.N.C.). NEWSWEEK's Kurt Soller talked to Lifetime's Executive Vice President, Meredith Wagner, about the importance of female politicians, the perils of parenting and whether Sarah Palin is bound for made-for-television stardom.

NEWSWEEK: From Hillary Clinton to Michelle Obama, and now Sarah Palin, this election is full of powerful women. What does this mean to your viewers?
Meredith Wagner: We've been hosting nonpartisan political events for five election cycles. But this year, the energy has so exponentially increased. In other years, it was hard to get [female leaders] together for a single forum, and now our events have been packed with both speakers and audience members.

Are these politicians a source of inspiration for Lifetime's viewers?
Whether you agree with the nomination of Sarah Palin or not, it is tremendously impactful for women in government. Young women are seeing political leadership and perhaps inspired to get involved. You see, women don't wake up in the morning and say, "I'm going to run for Congress." They usually need encouragement or someone telling them to run. So hopefully, the nomination of Sarah Palin will get them to think differently. As one of the organizations we often work with says, "You can't be what you can't see." Women and girls are now seeing women in leadership, so it's a tremendous step forward after five cycles.

But now that your viewers know Bristol Palin is a pregnant teen, is that a bad influence for their own teens?
It certainly makes more people say this is playing out like a Lifetime movie! And it makes it interesting, but I'll take the side of the conventional wisdom that these family issues should be off-limits. What our viewers really want to know about are the [candidate's stances] on family issues that they deeply care about, like childcare and education. Not that they don't care about national security and the economy, but the issues they really care about get drowned out because of these big policies.

So should we leave the drama to the made-for-television movies?
Well if you spend so much time talking [about] Chelsea Clinton, or the Obama Kids, or Palin's children - you are taking away precious time.

It's certainly makes for great television… when can we expect a Lifetime special?
That's not my department, but we'd never say never. As you know, we're always looking for women with interesting stories.