By Kathleen Hennessey, Associated Press Writer
March 29, 2007
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The Miss America Pageant has been dropped by Country Music Television, leaving the 86-year-old pageant without a TV outlet for the second time in three years.
The Viacom-owned network, which had rights to air the pageant through 2011, notified the Atlantic City, N.J.-based organization that it will not exercise its option to televise the contest "in 2008 and beyond," the cable network said in a statement issued to The Associated Press on Thursday.
Pageant officials said they've begun the search for a new TV home.
"We are embarking on discussions with potential new television partners to further expand our new marketing efforts and to ultimately broaden our viewership," pageant head Art McMaster said in a statement.
The news is another blow for an American institution that has struggled to find a place in modern popular culture. After 50 years on network television, ABC dropped Miss America in 2004 when ratings fell to a record low. CMT picked up the pageant, moved it to Las Vegas from its home in Atlantic City and updated its look with reality-TV elements.
While this is obviously a huge blow to the pageant, rumor has it Mario Lopez would like to host again in 2008 and Las Vegas’ Aladdin Resort and Casino would still like to host. I’m not a country music fan, so my hope is that the program moves to a network that is less geared toward one theme and demographic.
Similarly, Miss Teen USA is looking for a new TV home.
Not part of the pact: the Miss Teen USA pageant. Peacock has opted to drop its broadcasts of that event, though the Miss Universe Organization will continue to produce it.
Final broadcast of Miss Teen USA on NBC will be this August. No word yet on a new home for that pageant.
CLICK HERE for the entire Variety article written by Josef Adalian yesterday.