Miss America Pageant to Stay in Atlantic City through 2018

The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has approved a $4.3 million subsidy for the Miss America Organization to stage this year’s Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. Several area politicians have questioned continuing subsidies for the pageant.

The Miss America Pageant will stay in Atlantic City for at least one more year as the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved a $4.325 million subsidy for the 2019 Pageant—to be held in 2018.

The authority’s board approved the payment through an $11 million, three-year agreement with the organization and Dick Clark Productions, which has produced the pageant telecast in the past. A date for the pageant has not been announced. Though called the 2019 pageant, the pageant usually airs in September of the preceding year.

 “The CRDA is encouraged by the Miss America Organization’s description that the 2019 competition will be updated to include a focus on women’s empowerment and other related programs,” said Robert E. Mulcahy III, authority board chairman.

The pageant’s future in the resort has been in question after a scandal in December that led the removal of CEO Sam Haskell, Chief Operating Officer Josh Randle, board Chairwoman Lynn Weidner and several other board members.

A series of emails from Haskell were made public revealing conversations he had with board members and employees about past contestants’ weight and sexual history as well as conversations about how to hurt some former pageant winners post-Miss America careers. The scandal caused Dick Clark Productions to break its affiliation with the pageant.

It also led to many local politicians to question whether the city should keep subsidizing the pageant, including the 2019 pageant which is the last covered under the authority’s contract with the pageant organization. That $11 million deal was signed in 2016. Many critics of the pageant say it does little to help the city’s economy and does not generate enough publicity to justify the payment.

The organization said in a press statement it was pleased with the authority’s decision and advised fans to stay tuned for more announcements regarding the future of the pageant.

“The Miss America Organization is pleased with CRDA’s action today to reserve funds to advance an iconic women’s empowerment program,” the organization said in a statement. “The vote signifies a partnership between MAO, CRDA and the state of New Jersey to work together to produce the next generation of female leaders. Today’s action is the first step in more announcements to come soon about a new Miss America.”

Former Fox News host and Miss America Gretchen Carlson now heads the organization which now also includes several other former pageant winners on its board. They have promised a total revamp of the pageant’s goals and presentation.

In another Atlantic City story, Tropicana Atlantic City announced it will debut its renovated Chelsea Tower in time for Memorial Day weekend, including a new Skybridge, new dining and bar options and a rooftop pool.

“The Chelsea Tower is a welcome addition to Tropicana Atlantic City,” said Tony Rodio, Tropicana president and CEO in a press release. “We were able to take a closed property on the Boardwalk, reinvigorate it, and incorporate it as part of the resort options at Tropicana Atlantic City.”

The new amenities will be open to the public and resort guests beginning May 25. Tropicana’s Memorial Day weekend celebration will continue with a Boardwalk Block Party and fireworks on May 26, the release said.