ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.
(AP) - He's a reality TV star, a billionaire and he knows a thing or two about
beautiful women - between the ones he's married and the beauty pageants he
better to rescue a damsel in distress than ?
has approached the Miss America Organization about buying the famous pageant,
which is fighting for survival after being dumped by ABC because of declining
talked to them, but I have not made an offer,'' said Trump, an owner of the and Miss USA
pageants. ``It's tough: The networks don't want to put it on, and I'd like to
do whatever I can to help them out.''
he bought , he
would keep it in
but make it more watchable, Trump said. When asked how, he wouldn't say, except
to say he would maintain the ``integrity'' of the contest.
officials, meanwhile, were playing it close to the sash Friday.
are flattered that called on the Miss America Organization, the
longest-running pageant in history,'' said CEO Art McMaster. ``We are currently
exploring all of our opportunities.''
who issued a written statement in response to inquiries from , would not elaborate. He declined repeated requests for an interview
Friday through pageant spokeswoman P.J. Santos.
controls 50 percent of the partnership, which owns the and Miss USA
pageants. He owns 25 percent personally and 25 percent through his Trump Hotels
& Casino Resorts company.
Trump Hotels share is soon to be transferred to Trump himself, as part of the
reorganization of Trump Hotels, which filed for bankruptcy in November.
doesn't mean The Donald's broke; Forbes magazine puts his net worth at $2.6
he may want from down-on-its-luck is anyone's guess.
is what you call the vertical integration of the beauty pageant business,''
said Larry Gerbrandt, a media analyst. ``I don't know what it does to , but you could see a natural merger of Miss USA and , so
that you go on from Miss USA-America to .''
, by any measure, is floundering.
a succession of new gimmicks aimed at luring viewers back in recent years, its
basic formula - 52 women competing in talent, swimsuit and evening wear, with a
tearful crowning at the end - has gone unchanged.
year, it was watched by 9.8 million people - a record low.
loss of its TV contract means more than the loss of network exposure.
also means less money: In 2003, ABC paid $5.6 million for the rights to
the Organization's total revenues for the year amounted to $6.9
the staid old beauty contest is pitching other networks in hopes of finding a
place on the dial.
believes the key to reviving interest in the 84-year-old pageant is televising
it as a reality-style serial that allows viewers to get to know the
goes in embracing the often meanspirited nature of reality TV is another
can't turn a Miss America pageant into a reality show,'' said Marc Berman,
senior television writer for Mediaweek, a trade publication. ``There's just so
much you can do with it, and while it can stand some changes, he'd be smart to
know you can't turn it around overnight.''
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