Country Music Television Ends Television Contract With Miss America Pageant

Thursday, March 29th 2007, 7:25 pm
By: News On 6

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ The Miss America Pageant has been dropped by Country Music Television, leaving the 86-year-old pageant without a TV outlet for the second time in three years.

The Viacom-owned network, which had rights to air the pageant through 2011, notified the Atlantic City, N.J.-based organization that it will not exercise its option to televise the contest ``in 2008 and beyond,'' the cable network said in a statement issued to The Associated Press on Thursday.

Pageant officials said they've begun the search for a new TV home.

``We are embarking on discussions with potential new television partners to further expand our new marketing efforts and to ultimately broaden our viewership,'' pageant head Art McMaster said in a statement.

The news is another blow for an American institution that has struggled to find a place in modern popular culture. After 50 years on network television, ABC dropped Miss America in 2004 when ratings fell to a record low. CMT picked up the pageant, moved it to Las Vegas from its home in Atlantic City and updated its look with reality-TV elements.