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CMT: There She Isn't, Miss America

Country Music Television has informed the Miss America organization that it will not be picking up its option to televise the pageant for 2008-11.

Suggesting the beauty pageant is no longer a fit with its programming strategy, Brain Phillips, executive VP and general manager of CMT, said that, while the channel is "proud" of its association with the pageant, "as a network, CMT is now in a more aggressive position to build off of existing series and launch more original series and music-centric special events."

CMT even says it will continue to donate to the Miss American scholarship fund.

The decision comes after ratings for the pageant's Jan. 29 airing dropped precipitously from the year before,
averaging 2.39 million viewers vs. 3.07 million in 2006, though that 2.39 million was still five times its prime time average. But the ratings drop came despite a multimillion-dollar ad campaign and the slating of a reality show about contestants.

The pageant moved to CMT from ABC in 2004 due to slumping ratings.