by Carl Quintanilla, NBC News
A fascinating chapter in recent American politics is coming to an end tonight, as Sarah Palin officially steps down as governor of Alaska. The question is: is she about to open a NEW chapter – with her plans to write books, speak out in favor of political candidates, and form a new center-right coalition?
Either way, tonight brings the kind of homespun theatre we've come to expect from the governor, complete with a Twitter message about the country music she's been listening to in her "camper full of kids & coffee." Our Norah O'Donnell is in Fairbanks tonight and will bring us the latest on what's next for Sarah Palin, and we'll talk all things politics with CNBC's John Harwood.
We'll also highlight the ongoing drought in Texas, which has gone from being a very serious situation to a critical one. Lakes and rivers are drying up and cattle are going thirsty. In some cases, water levels are so low, cars and motorcycles once dumped at the bottom are now at the top and being towed. NBC's Janet Shamlian brings us the pictures and tells us how long experts say the situation will last.
Finally, I don't know if you've noticed, but Hollywood has been incorporating the nation's weak economy, lately, into their storylines. From "30 Rock" to "The Simpsons," characters are dealing with the same hardships as everyday Americans. Has Hollywood finally "gotten real"? And what happened to the escapism it has typically provided in past downturns? NBC's Chris Jansing reports from Hollywood.
We hope you'll tune in and join us.