There she is, Miss America, there she is, on CMT.
The Viacom-owned country music cable channel will be the new home of The Miss America Pageant thanks to a multi-year deal with The Miss America Organization to air the pageant in January 2006 and 2007, with options through 2011.
The network, one of several cable nets eying the ratings-challenged pageant, says it will launch a multi-million dollar promotional campaign to drum up interest in Miss America, including pageant-themed programming on fellow MTV Network, VH1, promos on CMT Radio and CMT.com, and a major grassroots marketing campaign.
Miss America comes to CMT after it struggled in recent years on broadcast TV. ABC, which most recently broadcast the pageant, chose not to renew its contract with Miss America after the Sept. 18, 2004 broadcast pulled in a record low of 9.8 million viewers.
In an effort to retool the pageant, the Miss America Organization has been pitching the show with some sort of reality component attached.
CMT is considering various strategies to increase viewers’ attachment to the contestants including interstitials, promos or even an entire separate reality series, said a representative for the network.
The last option could be tough to pull together before the 2006 pageant, however.
CMT, which averaged 253,000 total viewers in prime in May, is a logical fit for the historical pageant, given the network’s appeal to viewers between the coasts. The network now reaches 77 million homes, and will likely use Miss America to broaden its reach beyond country music fans.