Miss America Competition Returns to Atlantic City for Next Three Years
The Miss America Organization (MAO), dick clark productions (dcp), and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) announced today a new three-year deal to produce the Miss America Competition in Atlantic City through the 2019 Miss America Competition, airing in 2018.
The ABC Television Network will broadcast the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Miss America Competitions live from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
“We are pleased to announce our new three-year deal to broadcast the national competition live from Atlantic City, the birthplace of Miss America,” said Sam Haskell, III, MAO’s Executive Chairman & CEO. “We have worked tirelessly with our partners Allen Shapiro and Mike Mahan at dick clark productions, as well as our friends at the CRDA and ABC to make Miss America one of the most important specials on television. Together, we look forward to showcasing the very best of Atlantic City to the world.”
The next three Miss America Competitions will feature an in-show promotion running approximately eight minutes long and will introduce each contestant in groups at four or five different locations throughout Atlantic City as chosen by the CRDA. Additionally, MAO will promote Atlantic City via in-show promotions during each telecast, including no less than four city-wide promotional shots projected onto the on-stage screen, as well as audio mentions of the Competition taking place in Historic Boardwalk Hall.
The 2016 telecast came in at #1 on the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings Top Ten (Series and Specials) for the week of September 7 – September 13, 2015. Despite heightened competition, the 2016 Miss America Competition shot up from its lead-in (+75%/+67%) and gained 1.7 million viewers and 31% in Adults 18-49 from its first half-hour to its final half-hour. During its final half-hour from 10:30-11pm as Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell was crowned, the Miss America Competition drew 7.9 million viewers and a 1.7 rating, 5 share with young adults. The 2016 telecast grew 4 percent in total viewers and increased by 43 percent among teen viewers over the 2015 telecast.
The 2016 Miss America Competition not only had to face stronger NFL competition than last year, but was also up against AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” as well as U.S. Open men’s tennis action on ESPN, which was pushed into primetime by a rain delay.
Miss America has an illustrious past with Atlantic City
Established in 1921 by local businessmen as a way to extend the summer season, the Miss America Organization has since grown to become one of the most recognizable household names in America. Margaret Gorman of Washington, DC, made history as the inaugural Miss America in 1921. Time and time again, history has been made on the Miss America stage in Atlantic City.
In 1943, Jean Bartel was crowned Miss America in Atlantic City; in the ensuing year, Jean raised $2.5 million in Series E war bonds (over $34 million in today’s dollars), more than any other private individual in the United States. Two years later in 1945, the first Jewish Miss America, Bess Myerson, was crowned in Boardwalk Hall, winning the organization’s inaugural scholarship of $5,000. Ever since, scholarships have been paramount to the Miss America Organization.
In 1954, Lee Meriwether became the first Miss America to be crowned on live television with more than 27 million viewers or 39 percent of the television audience. Today, the Miss America telecast remains the fourth longest-running live event in television history, even surpassing the Super Bowl. In 1960, Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley and Miss America 1960 Lynda Lee Mead made history as the first back-to-back Miss Americas from the same state, the State of Mississippi.
On September 13, 1983, the first African-American Miss America, Vanessa Williams, was crowned in Atlantic City. Exactly 30 years later to the date, both Miss Syracuse and Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, became the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America.
In 1989, Miss America 1988 Kaye Lani Rae Rafko’s community service efforts became the catalyst of the national platform for all contestants. MAO contestants annually contribute tens of thousands of community service hours to charitable and humanitarian causes around the world. Miss America 1991 Marjorie Judith Vincent, the last Miss America to be serenaded by Bert Parks, addressed the plight of victims of domestic violence, and she currently serves as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Florida. Heather French Henry, the Millennium Miss America and the first from Kentucky, highlighted the needs of our nation’s homeless veterans during her reign, and she now serves as the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.
Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of Miss America’s 95-year history occurred in 2015 when Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams made her historic return to the Miss America stage singing “Oh How the Years Go By.” Her performance concluded with a standing ovation, as Executive Chairman Sam Haskell joined Vanessa on stage and officially welcomed her back to the Miss America family.
“Miss America and Atlantic City have an incredibly rich history together,” said Josh Randle, MAO’s Chief Operating Officer. “Our continued partnership with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and dick clark productions will further that historic legacy as we continue to build a bigger and brighter future for Miss America and Atlantic City alike.”
Since its beginnings on the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk in 1921, the Miss America Organization remains today the nation’s largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women, awarding millions every year in cash awards and in-kind scholarships.
The 2017 Miss America Competition will be broadcast live on ABC from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall in September 2016.
For more information, visit www.MissAmerica.org.