Miss America Pageant returning to ABC


After five years on cable TV, the “Miss America Pageant” will return to its former broadcast network TV home, ABC, on January 15, 2011. The Miss America Organization announced the new deal with Disney’s ABC on Monday.

“We’re thrilled to have the Miss America pageant back on ABC and for the opportunity to be a part of this historic tradition,” said Vicki Dummer and John Saade, Senior Vice Presidents, Alternative Series, Specials and Late-Night, ABC Entertainment Group. “We look forward to working with the Miss America Organization for years to come.”

That would be three years, under the deal announced Monday. Having dropped the pageant after record low ratings in 2004, ABC officials will no doubt be watching to see if the retooling of the 90-year-old spectacle has restored its viewer appeal.

“Miss America is one of this country’s great enduring institutions, and creatively we are introducing new ways to honor the pageant’s rich tradition, while also producing a spectacular show that will offer true entertainment appeal to ABC’s viewers,” said Art McMaster, President and CEO of the  Miss America Organization (MAO).

McMaster said the MAO will maintain and oversee the creative direction of the pageant, while adding Tall Pony Productions with Anthony Eaton and Lauren Harris as Executive Producers.

Since its last airing on ABC in 2004, the Miss America Pageant aired twice on CMT and three times on TLC.

RBR-TVBR observation: As much as people talk about cable networks nearing parity with broadcast network in the minds of viewers, it hasn’t actually happened yet. The telecast on TLC in January 2010 drew about 4.5 million viewers, which was up from the previous year, but a far cry from the 26.7 million who watched on ABC back in 1991. ABC is obviously betting that the revitalized pageant, which moved to Las Vegas last January, will again appeal to viewers.