To the surprise of no one, the Miss USA Pageant clocked its lowest-ever audience of under a million viewers Sunday in a cobbled-together, last-minute distribution deal on Reelz. On the bright side, the pageant got network play, which had been in question. For comparison’s sake, last year’s properly promoted pageant, broadcast on NBC, averaged 5.56 million viewers; the previous year, it logged 4.6 million viewers age 2+. Even those numbers were nothing to write home about, compared to, say, 2005 when the thing was viewed by more than 8 million viewers on NBC. In its heyday, the pageant snared an average of 38 million viewers in 1979.
Reelz noted The Miss USA Pageant got sampled by 2.5 million viewers during its live telecast and a repeat immediately following.
Pageant organizers had to scramble to rig a distribution plan, brokering a deal on July 2 to telecast on Reelz, following NBC’s late-in-the-day announcement it was following Univision’s lead and dumping the telecast in the wake of controversial remarks made by pageant co-owner Donald Trump about Mexican immigrants during his White House bid announcement.
The news was still good for Reelz, which said Miss USA 2015 was its most-viewed telecast ever among women 18-34 and ranks as the second highest premiere night in the network’s history, right behind The Kennedys miniseries – another controversial project Reelz picked up after losing its originally intended network.
“The last two weeks have been a whirlwind for Reelz and we are proud to have had the opportunity to partner with the incredibly capable Miss Universe/Miss USA organization,” network CEO Stan E. Hubbard CEO said today.
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