The Miss USA pageant, which was homeless this week after being dumped by both NBC and Univision, has been rescued by the Reelz Channel, the AP reports.
The report quotes a statement released today by Reelz CEO Stan E. Hubbard saying that the pageant and its contestants “are an integral part of American tradition” and announcing that Reelz will carry the pageant.
Hubbard added: “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.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed notes: “Reelz, owned by Republican donor Hubbard, previously picked up the high-profile ‘The Kennedys’ miniseries after History Channel made the decision to yank it amid controversy, including pressure from the Kennedy family. Producer Joel Surnow told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011 he believed History killed the project because of his conservative political views.”
Reelz reaches about 70 million homes. The statement from Reelz and Hubbard did not mention the controversial remarks by pageant co-owner Donald Trump about Mexicans, which were cited by NBC this week when the network severed ties with the real estate mogul. Trump sparked controversy with the comments during a speech in June kicking of his bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
Trump has filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision after the Spanish-language network pulled out of the beauty pageant.
“Reelz said the Miss USA pageant will be televised July 12, its originally scheduled date on NBC,” the AP story notes, adding: “The pageant will have to scramble after a mass exodus of performers, hosts and judges who cited opposition to Trump’s views as the reason.”
A rep for rapper Flo Rida, who was reportedly the highest-profile artist scheduled to appear during the Miss USA pageant, confirmed Wednesday that he would not perform. The other two announced performers, country singer and “The Voice” winner Craig Wayne Boyd and pop singer Natalie La Rose, have also pulled out.