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Ratings: ‘Miss America’ Nosedives to All-Time Low – Yes, Counting the Years on Basic Cable

Network settles for fourth place as NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” dominates, Fox’s “Rel” premieres well

Last Updated: September 10, 2018 @ 10:55 AM

There they go, “Miss America” viewers. The “Miss America 2019” competition just plummeted 36 percent in TV ratings versus last year’s record low performance on ABC. Yes, that one went up against the first Sunday of the NFL regular season as well.

In 2017 (which is confusingly the 2018 pageant), ABC’s “Miss America” pageant averaged a 1.1 rating/4 share and had 5.4 million total viewers. This year’s revamped format — which omitted the popular swimsuit and evening gown rounds — struggled to a 0.7/3 and 4.3 million viewers, which means it was down 36 percent in the key demo and off 19 percent among overall audience members.

Among adults 18-49, which captures the ages most important to media buyers, Sunday’s telecast came in even lower than the few years “Miss America” ran on the TLC and CMT cable channels about a decade ago. That’s rough. In terms of total viewers, last night’s special still outperformed most of the basic cable years.

Nia Franklin of New York City was crowned Miss America on Sunday in the first pageant in the organization’s 98-year history without a swimsuit or evening gown contest.

The post-#MeToo tweaks to the contest weren’t the only signs of change as politics reared their head throughout the competition. Miss Michigan Emily Sioma eschewed the usual boastful or rah-rah self-introduction to deliver this pointed diss at her home state in the live broadcast Sunday night: “From a state with 84 percent of the U.S. fresh water, but none for its residents to drink, I’m Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma.”

During pre-broadcast competition on Friday, another contestant made a pointed remark about President Donald Trump. “Donald Trump is the biggest issue our country faces,” Miss West Virginia Madeline Collins told the judges. “Unfortunately, he has caused a lot of division in our country.”

Back to ratings: NBC dominated primetime with its “Sunday Night Football.” Due to the nature of live sports, the Nielsen numbers for Sunday’s NFL games are subject to significant adjustment. Primetime-wise, that’s pretty much limited to NBC and a Fox telecast that overran into the all-important day part.

NBC was first in ratings with a 5.4 rating/21 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and in total viewers with an average of 16.3 million, according to preliminary numbers. Those gaudy-looking numbers are the combination of the channel’s 80-minute pregame studio show and as much of the Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers game that would make the cutoff.

Fox was second in ratings with a 2.4/9 and in viewers with 7.1 million. After its NFL overrun and postgame coverage, new sitcom “Rel” posted a 1.7/7 and 5.1 million viewers at 8 o’clock. Reruns followed.

CBS was third in ratings with a 0.8/3 and in viewers with 4.7 million. At 7, “60 Minutes” landed a 0.9/4 and 7.1 million viewers. “Big Brother” at 8 put up a 1.5/6 and 5.7 million viewers. Repeats followed.

ABC was fourth in ratings with a 0.7/3 and in viewers with 4.2 million. Reruns led into “Miss America,” which closed out primetime.

Univision was fifth in ratings with a 0.4/1 and in viewers with 1.3 million.

Telemundo was sixth in ratings with a 0.3/1 and in viewers with 714,000.

The CW does not yet nationally program Sunday nights. Soon.