ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Sept. 9 (UPI) -- ABC says it plans to air a special program called Countdown to Miss America before the iconic beauty pageant begins Sunday night in Atlantic City, N.J.
"For the first time in its 60-year television history, the Miss America Organization is allowing cameras to broadcast live in the hour leading to its famed competition," the network said in a news release.
"Hosted by Good Morning America's Amy Robach, Countdown to Miss America will cover every aspect of this year's pageant, including the exciting and nail-biting preliminary competitions, as well as all of the evening's glitz, glam, ball gowns and bathing suits, as cameras go backstage where 53 young women will be preparing to represent their home states and territories, all hoping to bring home the crown.
Countdown to Miss America will also take a historical look back at the Miss America Organization's nine decades of scholarships and service, and introduce viewers to more than 30 former Miss Americas, including actress Lee Meriwether, who was the first Miss America crowned on national television 60 years ago in 1955."
ABC personalities Chris Harrison and Lara Spencer will serve as hosts of the pageant. Seated at the judges' panel for the competition will be television writer and executive producer Marc Cherry; former Green Bay Packer and Super Bowl champion Donald Driver; author and entrepreneur Kathy Ireland; U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson; General Anne Macdonald, who served more than 30 years in the U.S. Army; actress and former Miss America Lee Meriwether; and author and chief executive officer of VaynerMedia Gary Vaynerchuk.