Air Date: Saturday, September 18, 2004
Time Slot: 9:00 PM-11:00 PM EST on ABC
Episode Title: "MISS AMERICA"
[NOTE: The following article is a press release issued by the aforementioned network and/or company. Any errors, typos, etc. are attributed to the original author. The release is reproduced solely for the dissemination of the enclosed information.]


A Night of Broadcast "Firsts" Marks the 50th Anniversary of the First Telecast Of This Celebrated American Tradition, Which Also Aired on ABC

Chris Harrison, Host of ABC's Hit "The Bachelor," To Serve as Host of "Miss America" for First Time

Live Backstage Reports Will Give Viewers Unprecedented Access To the Contestants as They Prepare to Compete

In a spectacular, new dramatic finish to this year's "Miss America" telecast, the last two contestants will perform their talent in a final, live talent showdown competition-in one last effort to capture the coveted title of Miss America 2005, as the 50th Anniversary of the first televised "Miss America" is celebrated, live, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET), from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on the ABC Television Network.

Chris Harrison, who guides the fates and fortunes of the romantic journeys on ABC's hit reality romance series, "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," will host the live telecast - the third-longest running live entertainment special in television history -- for the first time. This glamorous, suspense-filled night will feature some of the America's most intelligent, talented and beautiful young women competing for the title now held by Ericka Dunlap of Orlando, Florida.

In the first-ever final talent showdown, the final two contestants left on the stage - after the fourth through second-runners-up have been announced-will perform their talent, live for the judges. The woman with the top cumulative score for the evening will be named Miss America 2005. There also will be a video montage presented during the broadcast featuring the top ten semi-finalists' talent performances.

Additionally, in a precedent-setting behind-the-scenes look, viewers will go live backstage with Chris Harrison as the women prepare in their dressing room to compete in one of America's greatest traditions. Harrison will continue to report on more of the immediate behind-the-scenes tension during the telecast to bring all the excitement of what could be called one of television's original reality shows.

In a new partnership, the top ten finalists in the "Miss America" competition will wear either a one or two-piece swimsuit from the Speedo Sport collection.

As in past years, the five finalists also will be tested with the Miss America quiz, which tests the women's awareness of issues relevant to Miss America and young women in today's world. The quiz will include questions from the areas of current events, U.S. history and U.S. government.

Chris Harrison has been the host of ABC's "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" since its debut in 2001, and also has hosted HGTV's "Designer's Challenge" since 1999.

ABC was the original home of "Miss America" from 1954 to 1956. In 1954 ABC's inaugural telecast captured the crowning of Lee Meriwether. "Miss America" returned to ABC in 1997.

Art McMaster, president and CEO of the Miss America Organization, is an executive producer of ABC's live telecast of "Miss America." Bob Bain returns for his fourth year as executive producer of the telecast. Alan Carter will be the director. (CLOSED-CAPTIONED) (Broadcast in stereo where available)

(Editors please note: Photos of telecast host Chris Harrison are available on abcmedianet.com)

A TV parental guideline will be posted closer to airdate.

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