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[11/18/08 - 01:47 PM]
52 WomeN. One Miss AmericA. the Competition Begins When TLC Premieres "Countdown to the Crown" on January 2, 2009
Tyler Harcott hosts the four-part series, which gives viewers at home a hand in voting four contestants into the pageant.

[via press release from TLC]

52 WOMEN. ONE MISS AMERICA. THE COMPETITION BEGINS WHEN TLC PREMIERES "COUNTDOWN TO THE CROWN" ON JANUARY 2, 2009

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, AMERICA GETS TO JUDGE AND PLACE FOUR GIRLS INTO THE PAGEANT FINALS

Los Angeles, CA � Last year, TLC and Miss America gave the pageant contestants a "Reality Check" and showed what it really takes to win the ultimate dream of becoming Miss America. This year, the stakes are even higher � a chance to win a spot in the pageant's coveted "top 15" � when the 52 state titleholders live together and face a series of competitions in TLC's COUNTDOWN TO THE CROWN. The fourpart reality series kicks off Friday, January 2, 2009 at 10 PM (ET/PT).

Each one-hour episode, hosted by Tyler Harcott, finds the contestants living on the majestic Queen Mary ocean liner and navigating through a series of team and individual competitions that help them prepare for the pageant and prove they have what it takes to be a modern-day Miss America. Through it all, viewers at home get to know the girls, and ultimately have a hand in voting four contestants into the pageant.

"Miss America continues to evolve to reflect today's young woman, and remains incredibly forward-thinking as it develops a new generation of intelligent, thoughtful, and passionate contestants," said Art McMaster, President/CEO of the Miss America Organization.

THE GOLD SASH

Joining Tyler are two consultants - Kym Douglas and Antthony Mark Hankins � who guide the women through their experience and decide who is best prepared to become 2009's Miss America. Through the challenges, the 52 contestants are expected to push their personal limits in an effort to win a gold sash, possibly advancing them into the top 15 at the Miss America pageant, which airs on TLC live from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 24.

Voting, which begins after the 15 gold-sash finalists are selected, will be conducted online at TLC.com/MissAmerica, and via text messaging.

"For the first time ever, America has the chance to be a judge and select four of the contestants they think deserves to make it into the pageant," explains Brent Zacky, VP of Development at TLC. "By giving viewers the chance to get to know the girls during COUNTDOWN TO THE CROWN, we are confident that four great contestants will take the stage in January to compete for the Miss America title."

THE CHALLENGES

Each week's episode welcomes a guest consultant who spotlights one of the key pillars that create a successful Miss America contestant. These consultants also have a hand in selecting that week's gold sash winner.

Episode 1: premieres January 2, 2009 at 10 PM (ET/PT)

Guest consultant: Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989 and host on Fox Network's FOX AND FRIENDS.

� Team Challenge: Quest for the Crown, a scavenger-style race through the ship.

� Individual Challenge: Pitch Perfect. The table's set to determine the girls' ability to remain composed, form an argument, and listen as well as she speaks.

Episode 2: premieres January 9, 2009 at 10 PM (ET/PT)

Guest consultant: Shakara Ledard, renowned supermodel

� Team Challenge: Fitness First Obstacle Course � the teams face off in a fun endurance race to the end.

� Individual Challenge: Runway Photo Shoot. Which girl has mastered her poise and confidence on the runway?

Episode 3: premieres January 16, 2009 at 10 PM (ET/PT) Guest Consultant: Clinton Kelly, from TLC's WHAT NOT TO WEAR. Clinton will also reprise his role as a special correspondent for the Miss America pageant.

� Team Challenge: Miss American Shopper. Will it be retail rivalry when each team has to share one shopping budget?

� Individual Challenge: Little Black Dress returns with a fashion-forward eye on personal style and resourcefulness.

Episode 4: premieres January 23, 2009 at 10 PM (ET/PT)

Guest Consultant: Susan Powell, Miss America 1981

� Team Challenge: Miss America's Got Talent. It's a talent showdown as the teams perfect a routine and compete against each other.

� Individual Challenge: Rock the Runway, where all of the planning pays off in their final chance to secure a sash.

COUNTDOWN TO THE CROWN is produced for TLC by Tijuana Entertainment.

Executive producers are Troy Searer and John Foy.

About TLC

TLC's innovative docu-series and reality-based programming include favorites Jon & Kate Plus 8, Little People, Big World, What Not to Wear, and LA Ink. The channel introduced Miss America Reality Check in 2008, which helped drive the Miss America Pageant to its highest rating in years. TLC defined home design with Trading Spaces and continues to renovate the genre. TLC's daytime lineup includes the Emmy Award-winning A Baby Story as well as Take Home Chef, featuring one of People magazine's Sexiest Men, Curtis Stone. The channel is available in more than 96 million homes in the US, nearly 8 million homes in Canada and through the website at www.tlc.com. TLC is part of Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISAD, DISBD, DISCK), the world's number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries.

About Miss America

The Miss America Pageant - and the scholarship program itself - is among the most enduring endeavors in modern American history. From its humble beginnings as a "bathing beauty'" contest in the 1920s, the Miss America Organization today is one of the nation's leading achievement programs and the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. Last year, the Miss America Organization and its state and local organizations made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance, helping young women all across the country to reach their dreams and goals. For more information, go to www.missamerica.org.





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· MISS AMERICA: COUNTDOWN TO THE CROWN (TLC)











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