NBC is returning to the beauty pageant arena.
The network has announced that it will air the 2020 “Miss America” competition, snagging it from ABC. NBC was the home of “Miss America” for two decades, and it also previously aired rival competition “Miss USA.” However, the Peacock decided to dump the latter competition series in 2015, due to the racist remarks made by then owner Donald Trump during the early stages of his Presidential campaign.
“Miss America,” which is currently chaired by Gretchen Carlson who won the crown in 1989, has undergone upheaval in recent years, dismissing its CEO Sam Haskell in 2017 over leaked emails he sent containing sexist comments about previous contestants.
The pageant has also gone through a rocky ratings period in the last couple decades. In 1997, ABC picked up the series, only to see its ratings steeply decline (nearly 50% during its nine-year run), before dropping it in 2005. “Miss America” then entered a broadcast wilderness, airing on CMT in 2006 and 2007, and then TLC for three years. It returned to broadcast on ABC in 2011, where it has aired ever since.
NBC says discussions are underway to decided next year’s date and venue. The 2020 competition will comprise of a two-hour telecast that will follow the 51 candidates as they compete for life-changing scholarships to be used to continue their efforts toward community service and education.
“NBC is excited to once again team with our friends at the Miss America Organization in what we know will be an entertaining telecast featuring so many inspiring women,” said Doug Vaughan, executive vice president of special programs and late night at NBC.
Over the last two years, the Miss America Organization and its state competitions have awarded nearly $6 million in scholarships, and the 2018 winner, Nia Franklin, has gone on to perform with orchestras and operas across the country.
“Miss America is thrilled to be back home at NBC with our 100th anniversary just around the corner. NBC is the perfect partner to tell the real stories of these intelligent, talented and socially conscious young women who will be the country’s next leaders,” said Regina Hopper, Miss America president & CEO.