The pageant, which aired from 9 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15, drew ABC's biggest non-sports audience in the timeslot since April 2009 and easily placed second to Fox for the night. The announcement of the 90th Anniversary Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, a 17-year-old from Nebraska and one of the youngest winners in the history of Miss America, kept ratings growing through the night despite the gridiron competition of two NFL Divisional Playoff games.
In the first half-hour of the telecast, Miss America was in third place with 5.25 million viewers, but for the remainder of the 2-hour live telecast (tape delayed on the West Coast), the pageant held onto second place for the night, with the audience growing to 7.85 million viewers.
MAO Chairman of the Board, Sam Haskell announced, “The Miss America Pageant’s return to ABC after six years on cable television was a nearly 50% audience increase over last year’s broadcast. This was an outstanding performance in terms of audience growth with the help of our wonderful partners ABC, Tony Eaton with Tall Pony Productions, and our presenting sponsor DSW. We thank them for their support of this 90th anniversary show that will now mark a new era for our organization.”
In addition, the 2011 Miss America Pageant was ranked 2nd in women aged 18-34!
"Miss America is back and stronger than ever as witnessed by over 14 million viewers this year," said President and CEO, Art McMaster. "We're so happy that everyone tuned into see the pageant back on ABC, and we are confident that Miss America’s audience will continue to grow with our network partner, ABC!"