Despite the scandalous move a few years back allowing Miss America contestants to wear nearly itsy-bitsy bikinis, the pageant’s ratings have been colder than the winner’s dip during her ritual ocean frolic. Last year, ABC dropped the show completely after abysmally low viewership. But the annual scholarship contest (thinly disguised as a babe parade) may be on the verge of an extreme makeover.

The New York Post reports that the pageant has signed a deal with the William Morris agency and plans to come back to the boob tube as a reality show! For a series of six or seven episodes, film crews will train their ruthless lenses on contestants in regional competitions – think “Miss Congeniality” meets “The Bachelorette” – as they hone their interview skills, tone their glutei, and cry with joy and/or despair on their way to the live finale.

Viewers want to see something different, pageant president and chief executive officer Art McMaster told the Post, which supposedly explains why they would want yet another reality show. Rather than coming in at the tail end of the pageant with the 10 finalists, McMaster said, “We have to show their backgrounds, their strengths, their fears and ambitions, so there’s a connection between the TV set and America.”

Once a major TV event, the pageant drew an all-time low of 9.8 million viewers last year. Now, for the first time in 50 years, it has no small-screen home. Possibilities for this revised version are cable outlets such as A&E, USA, TNT, Oxygen and E!

“I feel confident we’ll be on the network again, but we won’t know anything for another couple of weeks,” McMaster said.

We’ll keep our ankles crossed, waiting to hear.


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