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Lopez to host Miss America pageant again

Mario Lopez will again host the Miss America pageant, which airs Jan. 24 on TLC.
/ Source: TODAY staff and wire

Mario Lopez will again host the Miss America pageant.

TLC and the Miss America Organization announced Monday that the 35-year-old "Extra" host will serve as master of ceremonies for the live Jan. 24 ceremony in Las Vegas.

He previously hosted the pageant in 2007.

TLC's programming vice president, Brent Zacky, said: "Mario and the Miss America Organization's past relationship has proven beneficial and we look forward to having him in Vegas again this year."

Last January, Miss Michigan Kirsten Haglund, a 19-year-old aspiring Broadway star, was crowned Miss America 2008 in a live show billed as the unveiling of the 87-year-old pageant’s new, hipper look.

The crowning at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip was aired for the first time on TLC. It capped a four-week reality series, “Miss America: Reality Check,” which followed the contestants as they were pushed to shed the dated look of Miss Americas past and adopt a more updated style.

The show was the latest in a series of attempts to find a new audience after more than a decade of declining ratings. The fading institution was dropped from network television in 2004. It spent a two-year stint on Country Music Television before being picked up in 2007 by TLC, a cable channel reaching 93 million homes in the U.S.