Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant hit its lowest-ever ratings on Sunday, losing about 3 million total viewers in its move from NBC to Reelz following the presidential candidate’s controversial remarks over Mexican immigrants.
The Reelz telecast of the pageant attracted 2.5 million total viewers over two airings — counting the actual premiere and an encore, which the cable channel reported together.
The one airing of the 2014 competition on the higher-trafficked NBC scored 5.5 million total viewers. While the comparisons are admittedly apples-to-oranges in both venue and telecast total, the loss of more than half of last year’s audience is significant.
Still, there is some good news for Reelz, if not so much for Trump. “Miss USA 2015” was the most viewed telecast ever on Reelz for women 18-34, and now ranks as the second-highest premiere night in network history, behind only “The Kennedys” miniseries. The July pageant’s premiere night telecasts received a 1.26 gross household coverage area rating.
Previously, the competition pulled 38,000 viewers via a livestream.
“The last two weeks have been a whirlwind for Reelz and we are proud to have had the opportunity to partner with the incredibly capable Miss Universe/Miss USA organization,” said Stan E. Hubbard, chief executive officer of Reelz. “Their capability and the value we bring as an independent network produced an extraordinary night of television that America tuned in to watch.”
Miss USA was dropped by both NBC and Univision following derogatory remarks Trump made about Mexican immigrants during his presidential candidacy declaration speech last month. Trump co-owns the Miss Universe Organization in a joint venture with NBCUniversal.
“When do we beat Mexico at the border?” asked Trump at the time. “They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they’re killing us economically.”
“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” he continued. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. 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.”
“It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably from the Middle East,” he continued.