If there were thoughts that Miss America has had her day, ABC doesn't agree.
This year, the network returns the competition to broadcast television after a three-year run on TLC (which also had a reality series with the given year's contestants attached to it). ABC's three-year deal for the pageant begins Saturday, Jan, 15, with Chris Harrison ( "The Bachelor") and Brooke Burke ( "Dancing With the Stars") serving as hosts at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
The upcoming event marks the contest's return to ABC, home to its last over-the-air telecast six years ago. Country Music Television carried the pageant for the two-year interim between ABC and TLC, but for many years previously, Miss America was very much an NBC tradition.
Along with that, Bert Parks established a close association with the pageant as its host. He filled that role from 1955 (the first year the competition was televised) to 1979, and his crooning of the coronation song, "There She Is, Miss America," became as much a trademark of his career as anything.
The 2011 judging panel features some very familiar faces, several of them with (not surprisingly) close ties to ABC. "The View" co-host Joy Behar is the chosen "expert" in the area of interview, "Desperate Housewives" creator and executive producer Marc Cherry represents "star power," and "Dancing With the Stars" veteran Tony Dovolani -- who was paired with Audrina Patridge ( "The Hills") in that series' most recent season -- covers expertise in fitness and dance.
Community service and instrumental talent will be handled by Dr. Debbye Turner Bell, the CBS News correspondent who was Miss America 1990. Actress Marilu Henner ( "Taxi") is the representative for health and beauty, shoe designer Taryn Rose speaks for the field of fashion, and country music star Mark Wills will symbolize vocal talent.
All the expected elements will be factored in again, then, as Miss America makes her broadcast return. And there she'll stay ... at least for a while.