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Tuesday, June 18, 22:47:31Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 123[4]567 ]
Subject: Miss America to hold pageant for teenage girls in Orlando


Author:
MIKE BRANOM
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Date Posted: 03/23/05 4:50:59pm

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The nation's premier beauty pageant, waning in popularity, is looking to youth for a revival.

The Miss America Organization is creating a spin-off pageant for teenage girls, officials said Wednesday.

Miss America's Outstanding Teen, a pageant for girls 13 to 17 years old, will be held Aug. 17-20 in Orlando. It will pit winners from the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, against one another in talent and evening wear - but not swimsuit - competitions.

Contestants will also be judged through a personal interview, active wear and lifestyle/fitness competitions.

The junior Miss America pageant will be a smaller-scale version of the event that's been held in Atlantic City since 1921. Negotiations are underway for a television deal.

The announcement comes at a crucial time for the organization. The Miss America pageant's ratings have been declining for years, with last year's show on ABC attracting a record-low 9.8 million viewers.

ABC dumped the pageant in October, and no other network has of yet stepped forward to broadcast this year's event.

Art McMaster, the president and CEO of the Miss America Organization, believes the teen event can stem that slide, by giving the organization an opportunity to "rebrand itself."

"It could become a new national standard in teen achievement programs for girls, an area where there is lot of variety and inconsistency from community to community," McMaster said.

Most of the current Miss America contestants are of college age, as they must be at least 17 years old to compete. Deidre Downs, the reigning Miss America, is 24.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for teens to participate in and benefit from the lasting tradition of Miss America," Downs said.

Miss America's Outstanding Teen will divide about $150,000 in scholarships among the contestants, with the winner taking home a $30,000 scholarship.

"I've always believed that giving young people a reason to do well and rewarding accomplishments is a primary building block to a successful and healthy future," McMaster said. "The more tools we give our kids to succeed, the better we become as a society."

The Miss America Organization has signed a three-year deal with the host venue and hotel: the Orange County Convention Center and Rosen Hotels, respectively. But this doesn't signify a possible move for the Miss America pageant, McMaster said.

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