CMT and the Miss America Organization have announced a new, seven-episode documentary series, Finding Miss America, which follows the 52 Miss America finalists through the preliminary competitions prior to the 2007 Miss America Pageant. The series will air in the days leading up to the two-hour pageant which is scheduled to premiere live in January on CMT.
For the first time in the pageant's 85-year history, viewers may cast their votes via phone and CMT.com for their favorite contestants, thereby determining finalists to compete in the 2007 Miss America Pageant. Viewers will also get an inside look at the never-before-seen judges' interview portion of the preliminary competition.
The series will begin with each of the contestants traveling to the pageant's host city in the fall of 2006 to be divided by random order into seven groups. Each of the seven episodes of the series will focus on one particular group as they live together and compete in the preliminary competitions -- evening wear, swimwear, talent and the one-on-one interviews with judges. At the end of the preliminary period, judges will tally their votes and select the top eight finalists to be revealed live at the 2007 pageant.
At the end of each episode, viewers will be able to vote for their favorite contestant via phone and CMT.com. The selections by viewers and judges will be announced live during the pageant telecast to advance 15 finalists. The judging of the 15 finalists will follow the same established rules as in years past.
"One of our goals with last year's pageant was to give viewers the opportunity to really get to know these contestants and root for their favorites," said CMT vice president of programming and development Paul Villadolid. "With the creation of this documentary series, viewers are now introduced to these contestants like never before and are able to vote for seven of their favorites to make the finals. Now, in addition to their talent and smarts, personality will play a huge role in determining these finalists."
"This is a great change in direction for the continued evolution of the Miss America Organization," said Miss America Organization president/CEO Art McMaster. "While we deeply value and honor our organization's traditions, we believe that this series will only increase viewer interest while showcasing the talents and character of these amazing women."
"These young women are educated, compassionate and beautiful, and it's about time that viewers are finally able to see the hard work and dedication that goes into becoming Miss America," said Phyllis George, Miss America 1971 and a member of the Miss America Organization Board.