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Reality Pageantry

Revamped 2009 Miss America Contest Disappointed, Despite Hype

— January 26, 2009 — Pop Culture
Miss America has been a huge TV show event which people have counted down to, planned parties around, and used as an excuse to ogle over the world’s most beautiful people for decades. In a reality show world, will this interest continue?

Does Miss America have a place in today’s society? PopWatch called it “embarrassingly out-of-step with the times" after they tried to appeal to the ‘reality show’ generation with their own TV show, but they may have been onto something.

Miss America was on the decline, but last year they revamped tradition, switched to reality, and ratings were up 52% after TLC introduced a four week reality series... but in 2009, viewership dropped dramatically by half a million viewers.

"It’s time to look at Miss America for what it is — an event that is a symbol of a bygone era," said TV expert professor Steven Miller of Rutgers University. "In order to compete against more modern shows, it needs to have a complete makeover."

To ogle beautiful women in swimsuits, TV viewers tune in to sizzling reality shows like Fear Factor or scandalous dating shows like the Bachelor. Those really into sexy underwear mark their calendars for the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, an appealing display for both men and women. For those into poking fun at others, there are shows like Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, and those who get a kick out of elimination based on beauty and talent can revel in shows like America’s Next Top Model.

Is Miss America far too tame for what people are looking for today? Is a battle for a $50K scholarship what people want to see?

As promising as it looked, the ratings dropped, and the 2009 Miss America pageant had a record low of 9.8 million people, down 500,000 viewers from 2008, according to MSNBC.