Series to make beauty queens face reality
Donald Trump and MTV are joining forces on a reality series that will mix “The Apprentice” with “The Real World” and star the winners of Trump’s beauty pageants.Half-hour series “Pageant Place” will see Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA living in the same New York apartment. Former Miss USA Tara Conner, who became the subject of controversy after reports of her partying surfaced last year, will also star, serving as a kind of den mother and chaperone to the women. “We’d been thinking about everything that happens backstage and how women like Tara captured the imagination of so many of us, including a slob named Rosie O’Donnell, who didn’t like that I gave Tara a second chance,” Trump said in an interview, “And we thought, Wouldn’t it be great if we let the cameras roll?” The three women who hold the pageant crowns always live in the same Gotham apartment during their yearlong reign, as they attend to their functions as pageant winners; this year they will live in front of cameras. “What’s great is that we’re not bringing them together — we’re tapping into a real situation,” said MTV programming topper Tony DiSanto. First season of “Pageant Place” will follow the women — current Miss Universe Riyo Mori, Miss USA Rachel Smith and Miss Teen USA Katie Blair — as they model, make appearances on behalf of various causes and embark on international trips. It could also feature drama between Conner and Blair, who have sometimes had a rocky relationship. Show, which will be produced via the mogul’s Trump Prods. banner, will be exec produced by Trump, Trump Prods. prexy Andy Litinsky and Miss Universe Organization prexy Paula Shugart and Evolution’s Doug Ross. Show will go into production this summer and will be on MTV by the end of the year, execs said. Eight episodes have been ordered, though DiSanto said the net has yet to commit to a number. Despite some similarities to “The Apprentice,” the new skein won’t feature some of the hallmarks of that show, insiders noted. “We won’t have any competitions or eliminations,” Litinsky said. “We don’t need any of that because there’s already so much here. It’s all real.” At four-month intervals, one of the pageant winners moves out and a new one moves in; the first season will feature the transition from Blair to the new Miss Teen USA. Project grows out of the various beauty pageants Trump owns with NBC, which has a first-look deal on any potential series. “Pageant Place” was set up at VH1 before migrating to MTV. NBC recently extended the contract for the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants for three more seasons. Trump Prods. has recently been ramping up its development, setting up “Lady or a Tramp,” a show about reforming young party girls, with Fox. For MTV, show helps solidify the young female demo and also looks to further the “Tiffany model” under DiSanto, in which the net will do fewer, but more buzzworthy, series.
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