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Miss America Pageant Extends Deal With ABC, Returns to Atlantic City

February 15, 2013 (1:53 am) GMT
As part of a three-year renewal agreement with ABC, the U.S. beauty pageant will head back to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City this September.
Teresa Scanlan, Laura Kaeppeler

Miss America Pageant will air on ABC at least for another three years. On Thursday, February 14, the Miss America organization signed a new three-year deal with the network to broadcast the national pageant.

As part of the new agreement, Miss America Pageant will return to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., where it began in 1921. The pageant will also return to its September schedule, meaning that the current Miss America, Mallory Hagan, who was crowned in January 12, will only reign for eight months.

"Miss America remains an iconic symbol, and our roots have always stayed connected to Atlantic City," said Sam Haskell, a former TV agent and chairman of the Miss America Organization.

Art McMaster, president and CEO of the Miss America organization, added, "It was always my dream that this would return here. Sadly, this organization went west for a while. That sadness is over. We are back to the city where the Miss America pageant began, where the Miss America pageant was raised, and where the Miss America pageant belongs."

The show was moved to Las Vegas in 2005, after ABC dropped the pageant in 2004 due to a steep ratings decline. The annual event later aired on CMT and on TLC before ABC bought back the rights for the January 2011 event.

The show's ratings improved in the last two years, though it wasn't as spectacular as in 1988, when it drew at least 50 million viewers.

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