ABC Closes The Door On Miss America

Oct 24


Vance Cureton

Vance Cureton

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ABC wants no more to do with the Miss America Pageant. So, ... the ... reason? ... ... a changed world it is that this ... is not ... ... is th


ABC wants no more to do with the Miss America Pageant. So,ABC  Closes The Door On Miss America Articles they've
dropped the broadcast.

The reason? Declining ratings.

What a changed world it is that this announcement is not startling news.
This is the first time in half-a-century that the pageant does not have a
television commitment! Once upon a time, the idea of becoming Miss America
was every school girl's dream. And a sneaked glimpse of Miss America in
her bathing suit was every teen-aged boy's fantasy. Er...not to mention a
lot of older fella's as well. So the decline of the pageant into television
mediocrity is a recent phenomenon. In the decade of the 90's the pageant's
ratings were decent. Certainly not the equal of what they were in the glory
years of the 50s and 60s when the pageant was a broadcast that viewers
of all ages did not want to miss. But more than acceptable in a divided
television world of endless cable channels.

Perhaps the pageant has survived as long as it has on reputation, and the
viewing habits of an audience that has been aging each year. The shocking
Vanessa Williams scandal of 1984 did not destroy the pageant. Neither did
Bert Park's replacement as master of ceremonies a couple of years earlier.
Could any man ever equal his rendition of "There She Is Miss America?"

Park's signature song in the event.

Vanessa Williams, notwithstanding, what has apparently done in Miss
America is SEX. The easy accessibility of tawdry entertainment not only
on broadcast television, but via cable, vcr tapes, cds, and downloadable
product from the internet. The once risque Miss America pageant has been
rendered into irrelevancy. Adult beauty pageants are no longer particulary
cool or hip, and as they remain on the broadcast channels are now an easy
target for ever zealous right-wingers who dislike women parading around
half-naked on television. Zealots who knew they were overmatched during
the pageant's popular heyday.

The Miss America Pageant is out-of-touch with the America of the 2000's.
Just as the variety show format is long-dead, these type of pageants have
been on struggling for years. They are like something that belonged to
an old aunt. Too precious to throw away. But not really worth the trouble
to bring down from the attic for a new appraisal.

Network television today is reality show mad. Actresses willingly appear
on the repugnant "Fear Factor" to perform repugnant feats. Would Miss
American do that!

Probably not.

Reality television is full of racy reparte between nubile singles. The focus
of the shows are frequently about what couple will pair off. Certainly not
on camera. -- But that is about as far from Miss America as you can get.

The emphasis in reality television is for spontaneity. Even if some events
are staged, the contestants reactions to them are not. People cry. People
fight. People plot against one another. People reveal their innermost emotions.
In comparison, the Miss America beauty "contest" seems from another

And speaking of Vanessa Williams. Her "artful" photographs did not
prevent her from becoming a successful recording artist. But her reputation
remained tarnished for years. Unlike Vanessa, scandal has actually helped
reality star Paris Hilton of internet sex-tape fame. { was that whole deal
a publicity stunt? } Paris and her equally bubble-brained co-star, Nichole
Richie, give the viewer everything that the haughty Miss America pageant

That is, strikingly beautiful young babes just being themselves, and not
afraid to be seen as less than perfect { or anywhere near... } in front of the
entire nation. Racy photographs and sex tapes on the internet are just part
of the new landscape. Such intimacies in the public domain might discourage
certain potential viewers from tuning in. But they won't stop the show,
so to speak. This is a wholesale change in culture. Just as slap-stick comedy
passed into television history with Lucille Ball. Quaint beauty pageants
just don't connect with the modern audience, as they once did.

Does anybody care any more about elegant, well-spoken young women
in bathing suits? Have we lost regard for their commendable aspirations
to become the next generation of doctors, lawyers, school teachers,
industrialists, and other contributing members of society?

The rating numbers do not lie.

Miss America may not be dead. But she's certainly on life support.