There was a time when beauty pageants like "Miss
America" and "Miss Universe" drew 20 million or more
viewers and people planned their schedules around them.
That time has long since passed. The latest example of how
far beauty pageants have slipped came last night when "Miss
Universe" hit its lowest viewership in at least four years and was
off 14 percent from last year.
According to Nielsen overnights, Miss Canada’s victory on
NBC averaged a 6.0 overnight household rating, down 13 percent versus last
year’s 6.9, while it averaged 8.97 million total viewers, down 14
percent from last year’s 10.48 million.
If the numbers hold,
both will be the event’s lowest since 2001’s pageant earned a 5.8
rating and averaged 8.27 million viewers. Just 15 years ago, it attracted
more than 13 million.
The drop in ratings is
the latest in a long string of declining ratings for pageants, and it begs
the question of how much longer they'll stay on broadcast TV.
In April, the “Miss
USA” pageant was down almost 40 percent from the previous year, to some 8
Last year’s "Miss
America" slipped to an all-time low 6.4 household rating and 9.82
million viewers, the first time it attracted fewer than 10 million since
Nielsen began tracking the event in 1954.
That prompted ABC to
drop the pageant after eight years on the network, and it has yet to latch
onto another network.
The very idea of a
beauty pageant is antiquated, a throwback to the days when resorts like
Atlantic City promoted to draw day tourists. They were daring then.
They're no longer daring in any sense. After all, fans of
the female form can find much more revealing pictures online than a parade
of bikini-clad women in the swimsuit competition.
Meanwhile, a rerun of CBS’s
“CSI: Miami” was last night’s highest-rated show among viewers 18-49
with a 4.0 average rating during the 10 p.m. timeslot. CBS led the night
in the demo with a 3.2 average rating and a 9 share, while NBC and Fox
tied for second, each at 2.8/8. ABC finished fourth for the night at
2.3/6, UPN fifth at 0.9/2 and the WB sixth at 0.8/2.
A Miss USA-themed
rerun of “Fear Factor” earned NBC a 2.3 average rating at 8 p.m.,
tying it for first with a rerun of “Nanny 911” on Fox. CBS was third
during the hour with a 2.0 average for reruns of “Still Standing”
(2.1) and “Listen Up” (1.9).
CBS took the lead at 9
p.m. with a 3.5 average for repeats of “Everybody Loves Raymond” (3.4)
and “Two and a Half Men” (3.5). Fox was second with a 3.2 average for
the premiere of the reality series “Hell’s Kitchen” and NBC third
with a 2.7 for the first hour of “Miss Universe.”
At 10 p.m. CBS led
with its 4.0 average for “CSI: Miami.” NBC was second with a 3.5 for
the last half of “Miss Universe” and ABC third with a 2.5 average for
the last hour of the NBA playoff game between the San Antonio Spurs and
Among households, CBS
led for the night with a 7.1 average rating and a 12 share. NBC finished
second at 5.3/9, ABC and Fox tied for third at 4.1/7, the WB was fifth at
1.6/3 and UPN was sixth at 1.4/2.