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[08/01/16 - 11:03 AM]
Mark Cuban, Sara Foster, Cole Swindell and Former Miss America Sharlene Wells Hawkes Tapped as First Round of Judges for the 96th Miss America Competition
Chris Harrison returns to host the legendary competition, with Sage Steele joining as co-host.

[via press release from ABC]

MARK CUBAN, SARA FOSTER, COLE SWINDELL, AND FORMER MISS AMERICA SHARLENE WELLS HAWKES TAPPED AS FIRST ROUND OF JUDGES FOR THE 96TH MISS AMERICA COMPETITION LIVE BROADCAST

The Show Will Be Hosted by Chris Harrison and Co-Hosted by Sage Steele

The '2017 Miss America Competition' to Broadcast Live Sunday, September 11, From Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, on the ABC Television Network

The Miss America Organization, dick clark productions and ABC revealed today that entrepreneur Mark Cuban, actress Sara Foster (VH1's "Barely Famous"), singer-songwriter Cole Swindell and former Miss America Sharlene Wells Hawkes will serve as celebrity judges for the "2017 Miss America Competition." Chris Harrison (ABC's "The Bachelor" and "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire") returns to host the legendary competition, with Sage Steele (ABC and ESPN's "NBA Countdown") joining as co-host. Miss America airs live from Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 (9:00-11:00p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. The evening will be filled with glitz and glam, as 52 women compete for the coveted crown and scholarships.

The panel of celebrity judges will evaluate the contestants' performances in the following categories during the live broadcast: Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit, Evening Wear, Talent, Interview and On-Stage Questions. These young women will showcase their incredible blend of intelligence, leadership, talent, physical fitness and dedication to community service, as they compete for the title of Miss America 2017.

"I am honored to be a judge at Miss America this year," said Swindell. "I love a good competition and am looking forward to helping choose a winner."

"It is an honor to meet some of the most accomplished young women in America today. It will be tough to choose just one. It helps to know - based on personal experience - that the one selected is not necessarily the best; she's the best representative at the time of those coming from every corner of our great and diverse nation," stated Hawkes.

Additional judges for the "2017 Miss America Competition" will be announced in the coming weeks.

Mark Cuban, owner of the 2011 World Champion Dallas Mavericks and best-selling author of "How to Win at the Sport of Business," was an entrepreneur from the early age of 13, when he sold garbage bags door-to-door. Today Cuban is recognized as one of the most influential people in both the cable and sports industries. He is owner and Chairman of AXS TV (www.axs.tv), the largest independently owned and operated TV network in the U.S. He takes personal responsibility for programming AXS TV, and under his vision and leadership, it is the premier destination for live events, breaking news, and as-they-are-happening trends in the worlds of pop culture, music, fashion and entertainment. Cuban also co-owns The Landmark Theater chain, Magnolia Pictures and Magnolia Home Video, along with partner Todd Wagner. In 2005 Magnolia and Landmark Theaters pioneered a "day and date" movie release, meaning the movie was released in theaters, on TV (HDNet Movies), and on DVD all on the same day. Taking this process one step further, Cuban created the "Ultra VOD" platform, releasing movies to video-on-demand on both cable and satellite up to four weeks prior to their release in theaters. Cuban also co-founded Broadcast.com, the leading provider of multi-media and streaming on the Internet, which was sold to Yahoo! Inc. in July, 1999; and MicroSolutions, a leading national systems integrator, which was later sold to CompuServe. On January 4, 2000, Cuban purchased the Dallas Mavericks. Under his leadership, the team's home games have become a total entertainment experience. Despite initial criticism, he added much more to the usual game-day experience options like the Mavericks ManiAACs. His successful efforts have brought a sense of pride and passion to the fans. Mark Cuban also appears on the Emmy Award-winning show "Shark Tank." The business-themed show returns to the ABC Television Network for its eighth season on Friday, September 23. A graduate of Indiana University, Cuban hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and resides in Dallas, Texas.

Aside from a successful career as a model, Sara Foster is best known for her role as the manipulative and cunning Jen Clark on the CW's cult series "90210." Foster's most recent project is "Barely Famous," a unique, tongue-in-cheek comedy parodying reality television, in which she created, co-stars in and executive produces with her sister, Erin, for VH1. "Barely Famous" is in its second season, which premiered on June 29. Sara and Erin, who are the daughters of David Foster, portray sisters born into the Hollywood lifestyle who are trying to navigate their careers and dating lives while maintaining perfect public images. In 2011, Foster costarred with David Cross, Sean Astin and Michael Vartan in James B. Rogers' comedy, "Demoted." Additionally, Foster starred opposite Cary Elwes and Gabriel Mann in the 2010 science-fiction film "Psych 9," which was directed by Andrew Shortell, and starred as Jesse Metcalfe's girlfriend in 2008's comedy "The Other End of the Line." In 2004, Foster turned heads as the crime-fighting lesbian spy Amy Bradshaw in Angelea Robinson's film "D.E.B.S." for Screen Gems. Earlier that year she made her feature film debut as the lead femme fatale in the movie adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel "The Big Bounce." Foster also has a string of guest-starring roles on TV series such as "CSI" and "Crossing Jordan" as well as a memorable appearance playing herself having a romantic tryst with Adrian Grenier's character, Vincent Chase, on HBO's "Entourage."

Cole Swindell, Platinum-selling recording artist and record-breaking five-time No. 1 hit maker, released his second album, "You Should Be Here," and it shot to No. 1 on the iTunes Top Country Albums Chart and No. 3 All Genre within hours of release. Its lead single and title track held a four- week run on top of Billboard's Hot Country songs chart (tally of digital streams, radio airplay and sales), in addition to multiple weeks sitting at No. 1 on country airplay. His Gold-certified "You Should Be Here" already boasts over 50 million streams, 700,000 tracks sold and more than 24 million YouTube views. The song joins Swindell's first four No. 1 consecutive singles as a solo artist (including Gold-certified "Let Me See Ya Girl," along with Platinum-certified hits "Hope You Get Lonely Tonight," "Ain't Worth The Whiskey" and "Chillin' It") from his Platinum-selling self-titled debut album. In 2015 the Georgia native won the ACM New Artist of the Year, was named to Billboard's Top New Country Artists, awarded CMA's "Triple Play Award" for having (at least) three No. 1 songs in the past twelve months, and was the only performer to claim the title in 2015. He was nominated for CMA Awards' "New Artist of the Year" and named Music Row's Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year, with celebrated songwriting credits, which include not only his own five No. 1 hits but "This Is How We Roll" by Florida Georgia Line, "Get Me Some of That" by Thomas Rhett, and several songs with Luke Bryan, such as his No. 1 single "Roller Coaster," among others. He is currently touring with Florida Georgia Line's "Dig Your Roots Tour." This fall, Swindell will begin his headlining tour, "Down Home Tour Presented by CMT," after opening for Florida Georgia Line's Dig Your Roots Tour. The Down Home Tour coincides with the release of his third and newest EP, "Down Home Sessions III." To date, Swindell has sold over 1.4 million total album equivalents in the two years since his debut, including 4.8 million tracks sold and 330 million streams.

Sharlene Wells Hawkes was crowned Miss America in 1985 after representing her home state, Utah. Hawkes went on to be an accomplished communicator across several disciplines - from sports to business to the United States military. In 1987, Sharlene became one of the first women to ever sign with ESPN. There, she became an award-winning sportscaster for over 15 years, covering such events as the World Cup Soccer, the French Open and the Kentucky Derby. In 2005, Sharlene founded Remember My Service Productions, a leading publisher and producer of historical commemoratives for the Armed Forces and Veteran Service organizations. Her support of the troops has gained her notoriety, leading to her appointment by the Secretary of Defense to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. Hawkes holds a masters in Organizational Communications from the University of Utah and bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University.

For the latest news, be sure to follow Miss America on social and join the conversation by using the official hashtag for the show, #MissAmerica. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/missamerica Twitter: https://twitter.com/missamericaorg Instagram: https://instagram.com/missamericaorg YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MissAmericaOrg Tumblr: http://blog.missamerica.org/ Join the Conversation: #MissAmerica

dick clark productions and the Miss America Organization will collaborate on all creative, marketing, sponsorship, licensing, ticketing and distribution elements of this year's show. Tony Eaton and Tall Pony Productions will produce the "2017 Miss America Competition."

Ticket on sale information for the "2017 Miss America Competition" will be announced soon.

For more information on the "2017 Miss America Competition," please visit Miss America Organization's website at www.missamerica.org.

About The Miss America Organization

The Miss America Organization, a 501(c) 4 non-profit corporation, awards millions of dollars in annual college scholarship assistance making it the largest scholarship program for women in the United States. MAO is comprised of 52 licensed organizations which includes all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. MAO contestants contribute over 500,000 hours of community service annually and have raised over $14 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals since 2007.





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