Miss America moves to TLC, adds a reality series

The Miss America pageant, which no longer seems to capture America’s imagination or attention, has a new home: TLC, the network that brought us Trading Spaces.

TLC said the new “reality series will chronicle the preparations and journeys of the contestants as they adjust to a new twist on the pageant format. The series will also give fans of the pageant the chance to learn more about the young women competing and allow them to start choosing their favorites in the pursuit of the crown.”

A reality series was also part of CMT’s plan for the show when it picked up the pageant; seven finalists would have been chosen by the public. But the network bailed on that series and aired a two-hour special instead.

Variety notes that the pageant “has lost viewers each year since 2001, when ABC averaged 13.6 million,” but then “the total-viewer number dropped to 12 million, 10.3 million and finally to 9.8 million, at which point the net declined to renew it. On average, more than half of the pageant’s viewers are 50 or older.”

Miss America chair Sam Haskell said in a statement that the pageant’s “move to TLC will give it the proper promotion and attention it deserves.” The network will air Miss America for at least three years.

TLC and the Miss America Organization Reach Multi-Year Deal for Telecast Rights to ‘Miss America 2008 Pageant’ [TLC press release]
TLC adds ‘Miss America Pageant’ [Variety]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.