After more than five months in dating limbo since being dropped by ABC, the Miss America pageant appears to have a serious suitor.
“We’re getting very close,” says John Ferriter, senior VP and head of network alternative programming at the William Morris Agency, which began repping the pageant after organizers had a falling out with the Creative Artists Agency over the winter. Ferriter expects to announce the buyer this week. “I think the show is going to be back on the air and back in a big way.”
According to Ferriter, both broadcast and cable outlets have expressed interest in the contest. It is being pitched as a new kind of pageant, reconstituted by producers within the agency (reality and live-event specialists) as a multiple-part reality series. Under the working title The Search for Miss America, the series would follow contestants through state contests (letting viewers get to know them on their home turf), create a rooting interest in the hopefuls, and culminate with the two-hour beauty pageant.
Who will buy the show? Definitely not Fox Television, which has opted out of the running, says Ferriter, and probably not Donald Trump. He owns the Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA pageants, and is reported to be interested, but Trump, Ferriter says, “has not put an offer on the table.”
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