LAS VEGAS - The Miss America Pageant has been dropped by Country Music Television, leaving the 86-year-old pageant without a TV outlet for the second time in three years.
The Viacom-owned network, which had rights to air the pageant through 2011, notified the Atlantic City, N.J.-based organization that it will not exercise its option to televise the contest "in 2008 and beyond," the cable network said in a statement issued to The Associated Press on Thursday.
Pageant officials said they've begun the search for a new TV home.
"We are embarking on discussions with potential new television partners to further expand our new marketing efforts and to ultimately broaden our viewership," pageant head Art McMaster said in a statement.
The news is another blow for an American institution that has struggled to find a place in modern popular culture. After 50 years on network television, ABC dropped Miss America in 2004 when ratings fell to a record low. CMT picked up the pageant, moved it to Las Vegas from its home in Atlantic City and updated its look with reality-TV elements.
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