Being Miss Maumee Valley

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Miss America Press: Miss America Finds 3.1M Cable Viewers

Miss America Finds 3.1M Cable Viewers

Associated Press Writer
Tue Jan 24, 6:38 PM ET

Miss America was a big fish in a much smaller pond Saturday night, earning the highest ratings ever for her new cable channel — but attracting less than one-third of the viewers she last found on network television

About 3.1 million people tuned in to Country Music Television's prime-time broadcast as Miss Oklahoma Jennifer Berry won the 2006 Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas, according to Nielsen Media Research data released Tuesday.

While the numbers are an achievement for the Nashville-based network, which reaches 78.7 million homes and typically gets about 356,000 viewers in the same time slot, the show did not make the list of the top 40 most watched cable programs aired last week. Nickelodeon's teen comedy, "Drake and Josh," came in at number 40 with 3.28 million viewers.

"This is monumental for CMT," said vice president of programming Paul Villadolid. "To come right out of the box and be the highest-rated program in our history, we're thrilled."

The CMT Country Music Awards held last April had been the network's top-rated show, drawing 2.9 million viewers.

CMT picked up the 85-year-old Miss America Pageant after ABC dropped it from its schedule in 2004 after it drew a record low 9.8 million viewers — a 20 percent drop since 2000 and about half the number of viewers who watched 20 years earlier.

Its move to cable puts the pageant in a different league from network television events. Nearly 19 million viewers watched this month's "Golden Globes." Last year's
Academy Awards had 41.5 million viewers.

The loss of a network deal was a financial blow that led organizers to move Miss America from her home in Atlantic City, N.J., give her a back-to-basics makeover and healthy dose of promotion.

The show was broadcast three times over the weekend, giving the pageant a cumulative 12.5 million different viewers. Two more rebroadcasts are scheduled, and CMT sister-network VH1 plans to air the show 4 p.m. EST Friday.

"We never got that kind of promotion before," said Art McMaster, CEO of the Atlantic City-based Miss America Organization. "It's great exposure. We needed to get out there more than one night a year."

McMaster said he has adjusted his expectations to the world of niche marketing and cable television.

"Remember, we're going to reach out to the heartland of America. That was the reason for partnering with CMT, a network that reaches that market. There's no doubt Miss America is a heartland event," McMaster said.

Even so, organizers said the pageant benefited from the buzz of moving to Sin City. But they have not decided if they'll put down roots in Las Vegas, or shop the show around to another eager market.


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