The Miss America pageant is returning to broadcast TV starting next year.
The pageant, which has aired on cable for the past five years, will move back to its long-time home ABC as part of a three-year deal the network signed with the Miss America Organization. Miss America will keep the January airdate it adopted when it moved to cable; the 2011 pageant is scheduled to air Jan. 15.
Details of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it’s likely to be a fairly low-risk one for ABC. The network dropped Miss America after the 2004 pageant following several years of declining ratings. It then moved to CMT for two years and TLC for three; this year’s pageant, won by Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron, averaged 4.5 million viewers, a pretty strong number for TLC.
Despite that, however, TLC declined to pick up another three-year option, leaving the competition once again without a TV home. The return to ABC will include “new ways to honor the pageant’s rich tradition while also producing a spectacular show that will offer true entertainment appeal,” Miss America president and CEO Art McMaster says.
A site for the 2011 pageant hasn’t been determined yet; it’s taken place in Las Vegas the past several years.
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