Monday, May 24, 2010

Miss America gets TV deal

LAS VEGAS - MISS America (pic) is getting back to network television in time for her 90th birthday.

The beauty pageant has signed a three-year deal with ABC, with plans to air next year's competition live on Jan. 15, pageant officials said.

'It's a wonderful deal,' Sam Haskell, chairman of the Miss America Organization, told The Associated Press. 'It's much better than any deal that we've had in the last five years.' Mr Haskell declined to discuss specifics of the agreement.

Miss America has not aired on network television since 2004, when ABC dropped the pageant after record-low ratings. Since then, it has aired on cable, twice on CMT and three times on TLC.

This year's pageant - won by Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron - topped cable television excluding movies with 4.5 million viewers the night it aired. That was about 1 million more viewers for the pageant than in 2009.

But Miss America found itself without a TV deal in March after cable network TLC declined to pick up a three-year option, opting instead to seek a two-year deal for less money. Haskell said the latest ABC deal brings the pageant full circle from 2004. -- AP

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