Miss USA 2010 Pageant: A Boon for NBC?

Miss USA Crowned last night
Miss USA Crowned last night

History was made last night, when Miss Michigan, Rima Fakih, became the first Arab American to win the Miss USA2010 Pageant. But will history be made tomorrow when The Nielsen Company release's the ratings for last nights' pageant?

Probably not. Interest in the pageant has slowly dwindled over the years and chances are good that for this year, the figures will be flat or down from years' past. According to The Nielsen Company, in 2009, 5 million viewers watched the pageant, down from 5.6 million in 2008 and 7.4 million in 2007. Viewership of the pageant have steadily declined since its heyday during the 1970's and 1980's when viewership hit a high of 38 million (1979).

Cheaper Commercials During the Pageant

The average cost for a commercial aired during the broadcast has also declined over the years. For the April 19, 2009 broadcast, the average cost per 30 seconds (second spot) was $70,000, compared to $116,000 in 2008 and a high of $215,000 in 2005, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Throughout the two-hour event, the contestants competed in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. Kristen Dalton, Miss USA 2009, crowned her successor, a 24-year-old of Lebanese descent, at the conclusion of the telecast.

NBC doesn't seem to mind the dwindling ratings over the years. In March the network renewed its exclusive agreement with Donald Trump and the Miss Universe Organization to broadcast the "Miss Universe" and "Miss USA" pageants on NBC for three additional years effective in 2011. Telemundo is also on board to continue its hugely successful Spanish language simulcast of "Miss Universe" as well as its top-rated pageant lead-in special, "Camino a la Corona."

"There's been renewed interest in this series of beauty pageants, especially among a new generation of younger viewers," said Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming and Production, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios. "NBC is proud to maintain this unique American cultural tradition as a viable series of competitive programming specials that continue to be a popular source of entertainment."

The "Miss Universe," "Miss USA" and "Miss Teen USA" pageants are a Donald Trump and NBC Universal joint venture. The Miss USA Pageant, which launched as a local "bathing beauty" competition in 1952, aired live on NBC from the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.