Hubbard Broadcasting's Reelz cable network said it will exclusively telecast the 2015 Miss USA Pageant live on Sunday, July 12, at 8 p.m. ET after NBC and Univision dropped the telecast over remarks presidential candidate Donald Trump made disparaging Mexicans. Trump Organization co-owns the Miss USA, Miss Universe and Teen Miss USA pageants.
“The decision on the part of Reelz to acquire the rights to the Miss USA Pageant was based on our belief that this special event, and the women who compete in it, are an integral part of American tradition,” Stan E. Hubbard, CEO of Reelz, said in a release issued on an embargo basis late Wednesday night. “As one of only a few independent networks, we decided to exercise our own voice and committed ourselves to bringing this pageant to American viewers everywhere. For us, this decision is about the dreams of the contestants who come from all walks of life across the United States, the city of Baton Rouge that has proudly come together to host this pageant and the viewers who will be watching and celebrating its 54th year on television. The Miss USA Pageant is a perfect fit on Reelz where movies, entertainment and celebrity come together every day of the year.”
The Reelz release did not mention Trump. In recent days, scheduled celebrity judges including Emmitt Smith, Flo Rida and Jonathan Scott also reportedly have stepped away from plans to participate in the pageant.
Reelz has a history of picking up projects abandoned over controversy, notably The Kennedys, a miniseries that History opted not to air amid pre-emptive criticism, though the program went on to win Emmys. Reelz has about 70 million subscribers on carriers including DirecTV, Dish Network, FiOS TV and Time Warner Cable.