Gretchen Carlson, Robin Meade, Phyllis George, and Paula Zahn are just a few of the TV news names who owe some of their early success to the Miss America Organization.
As the Pageant returns to ABC Sunday night, the organization is looking ahead to next year and a new partnership with dick clark productions. The collaboration will include work on all creative, marketing, sponsorship, ticketing and distribution elements for the organization.
TVSpy spoke with Sam Haskell, chairman and CEO of the Miss America Organization, to get his take on the new deal, plus what’s in store for Sunday’s 60th anniversary show.
What made you want to collaborate with dick clark productions?
Sam Haskell: Well, they’re one of the leading suppliers of live TV coverage in the country. Also, I represented Dick Clark 25 years ago when I was an agent, and I’ve worked with the company on many different types of programming. When Mark Bracco left ABC to join dick clark productions, I knew we’d be in good hands.
What changes can we expect for next year’s Miss America pageant?
Haskell: There won’t be very many changes to the actual broadcast. The changes will be behind the scenes, it will be more about the brand and using multiplatform programming to spread the word. We’ll be going on college tours, promoting our education issues like getting young women involved in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math). Miss America is so much more than a two hour telecast. Our partnership with dick clark productions will focus primarily on year- round branding work. Of course, we’ll be working very closely with them on the telecast as well, which I’m sure will be full of surprises.
Will there be any surprises on this Sunday’s show?
Haskell: There will be, but I can’t tell you! What I can say is that in the past, we had to worry about who our lead-in would be, but this year, “20/20” is doing an hour-long special on Miss America, [hosted by “Good Morning America’s” Amy Robach]. So we’ll be expanding our reach and it will essentially be a 3 hour event. We’ve got Chris Harrison from The Bachelor hosting with Lara Spencer, plus Gretchen Carlson will giving us behind the scenes coverage. It’s going to be a great show.
The 2015 Miss America Competition airs live from Atlantic City this Sunday, September 14 on ABC from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET.