The 98th Miss America pageant faced-off with the first football game of the season in the primetime TV spot, with the giant, spandex-clad men clobbering the properly clothed, poem-reciting pageant contestants. It wasn’t even close.
The number of viewers who tuned in to the ABC’s screening of the beauty competition plummeted 36 percent in ratings compared to last year – which was already a record-low performance. Last year’s beauty contest also squared off against the first Sunday of the NFL regular season – but at least there were supple young ladies wearing bikinis back then.
In a bow to the #MeToo phenomenon, the Miss America Organization announced in June that it was eliminating the swimsuit portion of the event as well as tweaking the evening gown section – declaring that candidates “will no longer be judged on outward physical appearance.”
Scholars will look back on this moment as one of the most predictable television-rating nosedives in recorded human history.