5:00am PT by Aaron Couch
Reelz to Broadcast Donald Trump's Miss USA Pageant
The Miss USA pageant has found a new home.
Reelz has picked up the rights to the telecast after NBC on Monday scrapped plans to air the pageant amid a growing controversy involving Donald Trump. The Miss Universe Organization, which presents the pageant, is a joint venture between Trump and NBCUniversal.
“The decision on the part of Reelz to acquire the rights to the Miss USA pageant was based on our belief that this special event, and the women who compete in it, are an integral part of American tradition,” said Stan E. Hubbard, CEO of Reelz. “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."
Reelz 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. The miniseries went on to be nominated for 10 Emmys and win four. Its opening night was also watched by a record 1.9 million viewers.
Trump has come under fire for controversial statements he made about immigrants during his June 16 speech announcing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
"The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. ... When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best," said Trump. "They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
The Miss USA pageant has faced a growing number of participants dropping out because of Trump's comments.
The pageant was set to air live on NBC from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 12. NBC had aired Miss USA as well as Miss Universe for the past 11 years and was in the midst of a five-year, $13.5 million contract between NBCUniversal and the Miss Universe Organization. The organization said Tuesday that it would stream the pageant online via Miss USA's official website.
The pageant was also, originally, set to be simulcast on Univision for the first time, but the Hispanic media organization canceled those plans and ended its business relationship with Trump last week. In response, on Tuesday, Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision, claiming the company violated its contract with him and the Miss Universe Organization.