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Ratings continue to fall for Miss America

Despite a move to a new time slot and a massive marketing effort, Monday’s newly repackaged Miss America Pageant got a smaller, albeit younger, audience.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Despite a move to a new time slot and a massive marketing effort, Monday’s newly repackaged Miss America Pageant got a smaller, albeit younger, audience.

About 2.4 million viewers watched Country Music Television’s prime-time crowning of Miss Oklahoma Lauren Nelson on Monday night, according to Nielsen Media Research ratings released Wednesday.

That’s down from the 3.1 million people who watched a Saturday crowning in 2006 on CMT, and about a quarter of the viewers who watched the show in 2004, its last year on network television.

After years of slipping ratings, CMT picked up the pageant in 2005, promising to restore its must-see status. It moved the pageant to Las Vegas from its home in Atlantic City, N.J., generating hype that helped make the 2006 crowning the most-watched program on the MTV-owned channel’s history.

The new Monday-night slot and this year’s marketing campaign, which included a ringtone, an Internet game and a slew of new reality-TV elements, were aimed at attracting a broader and younger audience. Producers say the changes were partially successful, noting the median age for the 8 p.m. EST telecast was 43, down 8 years from last year.

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“Pageant School,” a reality TV special aimed at funneling viewers toward the pageant, was seen by more than 16 million viewers in 10 total replays on CMT, VH1 and MTV, the network said.

“Introducing the pageant to a younger audience was one of our primary goals, and we’re thrilled to have delivered such a significantly younger audience in the span of just one year,” CMT executive producer Sarah Brock said in a statement. “Total viewership will continue to climb as CMT encores the pageant several times over the next week.”

Last year’s pageant aired 20 times on CMT and VH1, drawing a total of 36 million viewers. Monday’s show currently is scheduled for five more airings this week on CMT, which reaches 83 million households.