ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — There she is, Miss America, headed back to Atlantic City.
The Miss America pageant, a staple in Atlantic City for decades before it was moved to Las Vegas in 2006, is making a return, Gov. Chris Christie's spokesman Michael Drewniak confirmed Wednesday. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno was scheduled to make a formal announcement Thursday at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
The Miss America pageant started as little more than a bathing suit revue. It broke viewership records in its heyday and bills itself as one of the world's largest scholarship programs for women. But, like other pageants, it has struggled to stay relevant as national attitudes regarding women's rights have changed.
The news of the pageant's return to Atlantic City came as a surprise to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which sponsored the pageant on the Las Vegas Strip in January, spokeswoman Courtney Fitzgerald said in a telephone interview. In a subsequent statement, she said the tourism organization wished the pageant well in its new home.
"Las Vegas is honored to have hosted the Miss America pageant for the past seven years," she said. "We understand that moving the televised event to various cities showcases America's diverse destinations which represent our great country."
Pageant officials didn't immediately respond to after-hours phone and email messages seeking comment Wednesday.
Many details remained unclear, including whether the pageant would return to the elaborate show it had been for decades at Boardwalk Hall or continue as more of the reality show it became with its move to Las Vegas. Also unknown was where it would be broadcast and whether it is returning permanently or for a limited run.