ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, will return to her broadcast roots and take her conservative message to Fox News as a regular commentator, the cable channel announced Monday.
"I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News," Palin said in a statement posted on the network's Web site. "It's wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news."
Fox said that according to the multiyear deal, Palin will offer political commentary and analysis on the cable channel, as well as Fox's Web site, radio network and business cable channel.
She also will host occasional episodes of Fox News' "Real American Stories," a series debuting this year that the network said will feature true inspirational stories about Americans who have overcome adversity.
"Governor Palin has captivated everyone on both sides of the political spectrum and we are excited to add her dynamic voice to the FOX News lineup," Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming, said in a statement.
The network declined to say when Palin will start or how much she is being paid. Also unclear is how the arrangement will work, whether Palin will move to New York or commute from Alaska. Company representatives did not respond to calls seeking comment and Palin's spokeswoman, Meghan Stapleton, did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.
Palin, 45, is hugely popular with conservatives and has more than 1.1 million Facebook followers.
She stepped down as Alaska governor in July, 17 months before the end of her first term in office and less than a year after she vaulted to overnight fame as John McCain's running mate.
The bombshell resignation stunned even supporters and fueled widespread speculation on her next career step – with predictions ranging from seeking the presidency in 2012 to hosting a conservative talk show. She told Barbara Walters in November that a 2012 presidential bid was not on her radar but added she wouldn't rule out playing some kind of role in the next presidential election.
Since resigning, Palin has had colossal success with her best-selling memoir "Going Rogue," released four months after she left office. She finished a nationwide tour in December after hitting some of the political battleground states from the 2008 election and drawing thousands of fans.
If she were to seek the presidency, her new job would provide yet another stage from which to advance her conservative platform. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who sought the presidency in 2008, also hosts a talk show on Fox News and hasn't ruled out another run for president.
Palin majored in journalism with an emphasis on broadcasting at the University of Idaho and worked part-time as a weekend sportscaster in 1988 for KTUU-TV in Anchorage. She wasn't married at the time and used her maiden name Heath. The station's sports director, John Carpenter, said the young broadcaster left after a few months because of the low pay.
Carpenter said he was sorry to see her go. She was a hard worker who enjoyed the entire process, not just being in front of the cameras, he said.
"She knew sports, she could talk sports, she looked OK on TV," Carpenter said. "She had the aptitude, no question."
Palin's upcoming commentary career had her Facebook fans giddy with excitement Monday.
"Tell 'em like it is girl!!!!!!," one person wrote on a post.
"I look forward to seeing you on Fox....but I hope it doesn't prevent you from running in '12!," another wrote.