Friday, June 1, 2007

What is ABC Thinking?


In between continuing to discuss the drama of the recent Miss Universe pageant, fans on a Miss USA/Universe message board took the time to point out that Miss America folks should be upset because ABC was broadcasting a spelling bee!

Indeed, the broadcasting company that “dumped” Miss America a couple years ago, forcing the pageant to find temporary refuge on Country Music Television, aired the two hour Scripps National Spelling Bee last night.

Don’t leave me comments about the educational value of broadcasting a spelling bee because the reality is- that’s not what it’s about in TV. It’s about MONEY! Could a spelling bee really have brought in more sponsorship and viewership than Miss America?

I didn’t watch the spelling bee to see who the advertisers were, because:
A. I am and have always been a horrible speller… so the last thing I’m going to do is watch a bunch of boring junior highers who make me feel stupid! B. I was outside finally planting my vegetable garden.

If you did watch the spelling bee, I’d love to hear about what the commercials consisted of, or general thoughts on why Miss America is denied an annual television home, yet spelling bees and bad sitcom reruns get air time!

CLICK HERE for an interesting analysis from a non-pageant blogger that I found in a Google search.


  1. Truthfully I was flipping back and forth between the spelling bee and "The Starter Wife" (which was pretty good), so I can't really comment on the advertisements/sponsors. However, I remember hearing about this time last year that the big reason they were broadcasting the bee in primetime was to be on the heels of this movie called "Akeelah and the Bee", a movie in which basically a little girl wants to win a national spelling bee. I just checked IMDB, and I was right - that movie was released April 28th, 2006, about a month before the National Spelling Bee. As for the bee, the winner got a $35,000 scholarship (and other things) for winning! Doesn't Miss America get 50 grand for winning? Hmmm. This is something I hadn't thought about before, since reading your blog is as close as I get to pageants, but it's really weird that they would broadcast the spelling bee but not Miss America? And one other thing...remember that when the Spelling Bee is on 'sweeps' are already over and that all the 'hot' Thursday night shows are already in reruns. Food for thought.

  2. You ask if a Spelling Bee can actually bring in more sponsorship and viewership than a pageant, and I think...ABSOLUTELY.

    First, there's the novelty. Pageants have been broadcast for years, while the Spelling Bee is relatively new to mainstream media. (Compare the first season viewership of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", "The Bachelor", "Survivor" to later seasons. For the most part, the first few seasons do really well, then people start to drift away as it becomes old news.)

    Secondly, the Spelling Bee is age-appropriate for all ages. Whether or not you disagree with them, I know lots of parents that don't want their kids watching pageants. Can't think of any of them that would be upset to have their kids spelling. Lots of adults enjoy the Spelling Bee as well, some because it reminds them of bees way back in elementary school, others because they never had that opportunity.

    Finally, the time slot. Not sure exactly when the pageants usually air, but this was on Friday night. This is the least watched night of television, and the one network that has powerhouse shows in the time slot is CBS (with Ghost Whisperer). The demographic of people interested in watching a spelling bee overlaps heavily with the kind of people who will be home on a Friday night watching television.

    As for advertisers, for the most part it was very family / kid oriented stuff. Not too young (ie - not much with the diapers ) but definitely things like minivans, etc.


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