The Miss USA Pageant lost about 4 million viewers this year after NBC dropped it and cable channel Reelz picked it up as a result of comments the competition’s part-owner, Donald Trump, made about Mexican immigration.
According to Variety, 925,000 people tuned into the Miss USA Pageant during its first airing at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on Reelz. A second airing at 11 p.m. ET attracted 248,000 more viewers to the program for a total night’s viewers of 1.27 million.
A good night for Reelz (which averages 103,000 viewers on Sundays during the summer), the number is a big drop for the pageant compared to its NBC days.
Last year’s Miss USA was watched by 5.6 million viewers on NBC. So, the pageant dropped more than four million viewers year-over-year.
The whole ordeal began when Trump made offensive comments regarding Mexican immigration and immigrants during his speech announcing his candidacy for president. Univision, a member of NBCUniversal, then canceled its agreement to air Miss USA. NBC would later follow.
Just 10 days before the event, Reelz announced it would air the live pageant. Reelz CEO Stan E. Hubbard said at the time that the decision “was based on our belief that this special event, and the women who compete in it, are an integral part of American tradition.”
Amid the controversy, Miss Oklahoma, Olivia Jordan, won this year’s Miss USA title.
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