NEW YORK, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The Miss America pageant, dropped by ABC last year because of poor ratings, may be turned into a reality show to revive the sagging franchise.
The pageant has signed a deal with William Morris and hopes to reinvent itself as a multi-episode reality show tracking contestants in regional competitions up to the live finale, Television Week reported.
The new version will feature reality staples such as backstabbing and contestant eliminations.
"It really hit home this past year that viewers in America are changing quite a bit -- what they want to see is different and that's been a problem with our show," Pageant President Art McMaster told The New York Post.
"We were live on a Saturday night, and in the first 15 minutes, 42 of the contestants exited stage left," McMaster said. "That doesn't really help us when America wants to get to know everyone."
Once one of TV's top-rated shows, the Miss America Pageant has fallen on hard times in recent years, drawing only 9.8 million viewers last year -- an all-time-low -- and only 10.3 million viewers in 2003, the Post said.