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Palin returns to Fox News after brief split

Brian Stelter

Months after ending a sometimes tense working relationship, Sarah Palin and the Fox News Channel are back together.

Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate, has returned to Fox News as a paid contributor, Roger Ailes, the channel's chairman, announced Thursday. Her first appearance will come Monday on "Fox and Friends," the channel's conservative morning show.

The announcement came about five months after Palin's contract with Fox News expired. That contract, signed barely a year after Palin's unsuccessful 2008 bid for vice president, was said to be worth $1 million a year, making her the highest-paid pundit at the channel.

Her new contract is almost certainly less costly for Fox, since Palin does not have the star power she once did. (Fox's news release Thursday noted that in 2010, the year she joined Fox the first time, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world.)

She continues to have an ardent fan base. Some were disappointed when she left Fox in January. That month she seemed to take a shot at Fox in an interview published on Breitbart.com; in it, she encouraged people to "jump out of the comfort zone" and broaden their horizons.

"I'm taking my own advice here as I free up opportunities to share more broadly the message of the beauty of freedom and the imperative of defending our republic and restoring this most exceptional nation," she said. "We can't just preach to the choir; the message of liberty and true hope must be understood by a larger audience."

On Thursday, she said in a statement that "the power of Fox News is unparalleled" and "the role of Fox News in the important debates in our world is indispensable."

Ailes, who was reportedly critical of Palin in the past, praised her in Fox's announcement.

"I've had several conversations with Gov. Palin in the past few weeks about her rejoining Fox News as a contributor," he said. "I have great confidence in her and am pleased that she will once again add her commentary to our programming. I hope she continues to speak her mind."


By BRIAN STELTER
The New York Times