This post is part of AOL Money & Finance's Best & Worst in Money 2008 feature.
The great media circus that so richly illuminates American life is constantly producing new stars to dazzle us, and this year has been no exception. In addition to the usual offerings from television (Tina Fey), sports (Michael Phelps) and books and film (Stephanie Meyer), 2008 saw new stars emerge from the presidential election (Sarah Palin) and the spectacular and ongoing financial crisis (Neel Kashkari). Of course no one knows what 2009 will bring, but we can be sure of one thing: that each of these new stars will likely try to cash in on their new-found celebrity in the new year.
Tina Fey has been fairly well known for several years, first as the head writer and Weekend Update host on Saturday Night Live, then as the creator and star of the critically acclaimed show 30 Rock. However, she ascended to a higher level of celebrity with her dead-on impersonation of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. (It's so good that if you search for the phrase "dead-on impersonation" on both AOL and Google, the first results that come up are clips of Fey doing her Palin shtick.) There was a lot of debate about whether Fey hurt or helped Palin, but it's pretty clear that all of the attention helped Fey enormously, making her one of the most famous female comedians in the U.S. Look for more TV and film deals for her in 2009.