Being Miss Maumee Valley

Friday, July 21, 2006

Changes to the Miss America format.... again!

I agree (and practice) that it’s a women’s prerogative to change her mind, but Miss America [the organization] and CMT are getting ridiculous!

Back in April I posted that Miss America had adopted a reality format, articulated in the press release introducing the docu-series “Finding Miss America.”
Click here for that post. The understanding state contestants and judges had this year was that the Miss States would live together in Los Angeles for a few weeks in September, where they would privately film the preliminary competition. This would air in seven episodes on CMT; the public would select half the finalist, judges would select the other half and a Top 15 would then compete for the title of Miss America during a traditional 2 hour telecast in January.

Now that almost all the Miss States have been selected and the idea of this reality show format has been widely publicized, the Miss America organization and CMT have changed their minds.

While it has been, and continues to be very confusing, it is my understanding that there will no longer be a reality show concept or viewer vote.

Below are letters from Miss America and CMT executives articulating the changes, as well as a new Miss America press release highlighting the television coverage the pageant will receive, followed by my thoughts.

[Note, I will readily admit that the letters were copied from a semi-reliable internet message board; their validity on that site was not challenged and I believe them to be actual memos sent to and from the listed parties.]

Miss America Letter from Sam Haskell, Art McMaster, and Mike Allegretto

To State Executive Directors:

CMT's Paul Villadolid called to inform us of a format change for "Finding Miss America" and "The Miss America Pageant Finals." These changes will surprise you but will be to the MAO's benefit, etc.

All 52 state contestants will visit LA from Sept. 5-11, 2006.

Changes are as follows:

*Prelims and finals will all be in one location and four nights of production will be ticketed: January 25, 26 and 27 with the finals on Monday January 29.

*Contestants will arrive January 19, 2007

*Judges will score the traditional three prelim groups (Mu, Alpha and Sigma) and interviews (not clear if these are before or after prelim competition

*There will not be a top 15; only a top 10

*Finals will be two hour show

*There will be a one hour documentary about Jennifer Berry featuring her year as Miss America. This year's 52 state titleholders will be included in this documentary.

*There will also be a two hour special (this is what the girls will be in LA for) to be aired before the finals on VH1, MTV, CMT and Logo. CMT is arranging all the events for the week in September. Their goal is to show the girls enjoying being with each other without the pressure of competition.

*The home audience will phone in their Miss Congeniality winner after viewing the above two hour special (winner to be announced during finals telecast.

*52 Contestants will be featured on CMT's Top 20 Countdown (just like last year), Lance Smith is the host. He will incorporate the contestants to interview guests and present videos during the 2 1/2 hour show.

*The contestants will be featured on CMT's "The Insider," a 1/2 hour show dedicated to interviewing and following the girls.

*There will be another one hour special (not named) that CMT producers are working on to be broadcast right before the pageant.

MAO Disclaimer: CMT's research shows that this new approach will attract a younger audience, etc. (I personally think they should put them on TRL.)

*CMT believes strongly in the multiple airings on various networks, etc. The contestants will be seen by more viewers than ever before.

*No location has been announced yet.-fin-Note the MAO's omitting of CMT's plans to air the Prelims on their Broadband Loaded channel.

CMT Letter from Paul Villadolid

Thank you for your continued understanding, etc.
CMT believes in the MAO, etc. We want to create additional programming layers, etc.

We have decided to create a showcase of contestants in a two hour special shot in LA in September. Why? Viewers will get a better sense of who the girls are outside of a competition format.

Pageant will be broadcast on MTV with 92 million viewers, VH1 (with 89 million viewers), Logo (with 33Million viewers) and CMT with 83 million. (I think this is fantastic, btw).

The 2 hour special will be run all week before the pageant finals: filming profiles of contestants (online and VOD) and we plan on filming "the talent portion of the prelims in Vegas and broadcast each performance on CMT's broadband channel."

Top 20 COuntdown, CMT Insider, etc. will have special episodes.One hour look at Jennifer Berry along with updating one hour special GREATEST MISS AMERICA MOMENTS.

We know this is last minute, etc.

The following was emailed by Miss Ohio's business manager and can also be found on the Miss America site.


Two-Hour Contestant Special to be Broadcast on CMT, VH1, MTV and Logo and Include Viewer Voting For ‘Miss Congeniality’

Additional Programming Available On CMT,, CMT LOADED, VOD, CMT Mobile and CMT Radio

NASHVILLE – July 18, 2006 – Miss America will be available on multiple networks and multiple platforms as CMT announces an expanded programming strategy to support the 2007 MISS AMERICA PAGEANT. Beginning in January, CMT and its sister networks, VH1, MTV and Logo, will air a newly-produced, two-hour special featuring all 52 Miss America contestants as they meet in Los Angeles and prepare for their odyssey to become Miss America. VH1 is available in 90 million homes; MTV in 90 million; Logo in 20 million and CMT in 83 million. CMT remains the exclusive home of the pageant.

“With largely unduplicated viewership from CMT, our sister Viacom networks will greatly expand Miss America’s reach and expose the organization to a phenomenally large set of new viewers,” said Paul Villadolid, vice president, programming and development, CMT. “We’ll also utilize our new broadband channel, CMT LOADED, and other properties with additional programming that will fully maximize the strength of the Miss America property.”

“We’re extremely excited about the overwhelming amount of programming that CMT and other Viacom properties have committed to Miss America,” said Sam Haskell, chairman of the board, Miss America Organization. “This is exactly the kind of synergy we were hoping for when we made our initial deal with CMT.”

Beginning in December, CMT will devote nine hours to Miss America programming that will repeat on the network leading up to the MISS AMERICA PAGEANT in January 2007. Additional programming will be available exclusively on CMT LOADED, VOD,, CMT Radio and CMT Mobile.

Miss America-related programming will include:

CONTESTANT SPECIAL – two-hour special featuring the 52 State Finalists as they meet in LA and prepare for their quest to become the new Miss America. In addition, viewers will be able to cast their vote via phone and online at for “Miss Congeniality,” which will be announced live during the Pageant. This program takes the place of the previously announced documentary series, FINDING MISS AMERICA. Special to air on CMT, VH1, MTV, Logo and available on CMT LOADED.

TOTAL ACCESS: JENNIFER BERRY – one-hour special following Jennifer Berry on her year-long journey as Miss America 2006. From her crowning moment in Las Vegas to traveling the country in support of her platform, this special gives a never-before seen look at the life of Miss America. Special to air on CMT and available on CMT LOADED.

GREATEST MISS AMERICA MOMENTS – one-hour special documenting the evolution of Miss America over the past 85 years. Past and present Miss Americas reveal what it's like to spend a year as American “royalty” - from personal stories of courage and hope, to the drama and controversy of an institution caught in the crossfire of social change. Special to air on CMT and available on CMT LOADED.

CMT TOP 20 COUNTDOWN – two-and-a-half hour show counting down the week’s top videos with host Lance Smith reporting on-site at the 2007 MISS AMERICA PAGEANT. This special edition will feature interviews with pageant contestants that will premiere on CMT and be available on CMT LOADED.

CMT INSIDER – half-hour magazine show with host Katie Cook going behind-the-scenes at the upcoming pageant. This special edition of CMT INSIDER will premiere on CMT and be available on CMT LOADED and CMT Mobile.

2007 MISS AMERICA PAGEANT – two-hour pageant final that includes swimsuit, talent and evening wear competitions; and the crowning of Miss America 2007; premiering exclusively on CMT. Pageant location and venue to be announced.

TALENT PRELIMINARIES – Cameras will document each contestant’s talent performance from the Preliminaries leading up to the Pageant; available exclusively on CMT LOADED.

CONTESTANT PROFILES – One-minute profiles on each state finalist; available on CMT LOADED and VOD;; CMT Mobile; and CMT Radio.

The 2006 MISS AMERICA PAGEANT, hosted by James Denton, premiered on CMT last January and ranks as the most-watched telecast in CMT’s history with total viewers*. Since its premiere, re-airings of the Pageant have been seen by more than 22 million different viewers.

For the first time in its 85 year history, the MISS AMERICA PAGEANT took place outside of Atlantic City and debuted in Las Vegas. Jennifer Berry, of Oklahoma, is the current Miss America.

CMT, America’s No. 1 country music network, carries original programming, specials, and live concerts and events, as well as a mix of videos by established country music artists and new cutting-edge acts, including world premiere exclusive videos. Founded March 6, 1983, CMT, owned and operated by MTV Networks, reaches 83 million households in the United States. Go to country music’s biggest web site at

The Miss America Organization is one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and the world’s largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. Last year, the Miss America Organization and its state and local organizations made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance. For more information, go to

*Nielsen Media Research

CMT Lisa Chader615-335-8405
Miss America Organization Sharon Pearce609-345-7571
CMT Chris Delhomme 310-752-8635
Wolf-Kasteler-Van Iden Lisa Kasteler 310-205-0618

While I am grateful of CMT’s efforts to give the pageant more television exposure than any other time in history, it seems that they are in complete control and the Miss America organization is doing little to demand consistency. I can tell you, as a contestant, it was very frustrating going into Miss Ohio with limited information about how Miss America would be conducted; my thoughts go out to the newly crowned state titleholders who must continue to take these changes in stride. I feel our Miss Ohio, Melanie Murphy will be outstanding under any format. However, as this is considered a job interview, it is unacceptable for any company to expect its applicants and those making the selection (the judges) to perform at their best when the requirements of the job are constantly changing.

As a rule of thumb in the interview, pageant contestants should always stand by what they say, even when they are challenged or given the opportunity to change their answer. This exhibits self confidence, strength, reliability and trust worthiness. I wish CMT would learn to exhibit the same qualities.


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