Adweek’s Jason Lynch reports cable channel Reelz will now air the Miss USA Pageant July 12, after NBC dropped it.
NBC cut business ties with pageant co-owner Donald Trump on Monday in response to his derogatory comments about Mexicans during his June 16 presidential campaign announcement. NBC’s decision and Univision’s announcement last week that it was also cutting ties with Trump, and forgoing the Miss USA broadcast, left the pageant’s telecast in limbo.
“This special event, and the women who compete in it, are an integral part of American tradition,” said Reelz CEO Stanley Hubbard. “As one of only a few independent networks, we decided to exercise our own voice and committed ourselves to bringing this pageant to American viewers everywhere.”
Pageant co-hosts Cheryl Burke and MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts have both withdrawn from the pageant in protest of Trump’s remarks, as did Emmett Smith, who was scheduled to be a judge, and musical performers Flo Rida and J Balvin.
This is the second time that Reelz has stepped in to air a high-profile project that became too controversial for a larger network. In 2011, the channel aired the miniseries The Kennedys, which had been abandoned by History. The show’s executive producer alleged at the time that the Kennedy family had pressured History and other networks to scuttle the project.
Hubbard is a Minnesota-based media company that also owns TV and radio stations across the country. Reelz is seen in 70 million homes. The network had planned to air three Steven Seagal films on the evening of July 12: Ticker, Under Siege and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.