Monday, January 17, 2011

Miss America Stomps Miss USA In TV Ratings

Norm Clarke reported this morning that the Miss America pageant netted 6.6 million viewers on ABC on Saturday and declared it a success because that's a 47 percent uptick from the 2010 pageant's 4.5 million viewers in the first-run on the cable network TLC.

That seemed like spin to me because 6.6 million viewers is really not that great for network TV and at least on TLC the pageant enjoyed reruns that garnered even more viewers after the fact.

Then I went to compare apples to apples for quite a surprise: The Miss USA in 2010 broadcast on NBC drew just 5.25 million viewers in May and that was up 5% from 2009. And that's the pageant that all the tabloids adore because there's always a stray pole dancer or mini-Palin in the running. (The winner, 17-year-old Teresa Scanlan, a religious kid from small-town Nebraska who said she'd like to be president and thinks Wikileaks involves "espionage," is already being analyzed for her potential Palinistic attributes.)

Seeing how the media narrative leading up to Saturday's event involved the Miss America v Miss USA storyline -- with now-former Miss America Caressa Cameron snarking to me for AOL News that she'd never "heard anyone say she wanted to grow up to be Miss USA" -- the Miss America gang can be rightfully pleased.

I had a surprisingly good time covering this thing for Agence France-Presse on Saturday and offering a fun barb here and there via Twitter. It's not something I ever cared about before even though my own sister once won Miss Pee Wee New York or some-such and got to compete in some Miss America event in Atlantic City when she was an unbelievably cute 3-year-old. I've been friends with many gays who make Miss America a major, major thing and, in fact, that crowd certainly set Planet Hollywood aflame on Saturday.

I think it was most fun because I was seated besides Nebraska native Cara Roberts, Norm's other half, and behind a particularly jolly Robin Leach who was Tweeting via iPad. I had picked up a big bag of Jelly Bellys before the show and shared, which couldn't have hurt. I'm not sure Cara had really had them before because she was marveling at the buttered-popcorn flavor. Jelly Belly veterans know us from some buttered-popcorn beans.

Also, despite our recent scrums, Robin was incredibly friendly to me and even tried to let me access the Web via his Myfi card when my iPhone was, predictably, not cooperating. And he wasn't even in it for the Jelly Bellys, which he declined.

I'm hopeful I'll have an awesome Vegas-related Miss America column this week for the Weekly on a topic nobody else caught. It really depends on whether I can reach the one I want to speak to on Tuesday.


Anonymous said...

Maybe they can settle this quietly and not disturb any mainstream viewers,

Disappointed said...

Pretending that the podcast doesn't exist is not a classy way of closing it down or reducing it to an occasional ep whichever is the case. On the other hand, it is in the long tradition of commercial radio where one day there's suddenly music or a new guy where there used to be somebody else, and there's never a word of explanation.