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Miss America Headed To Vegas

After 84 years of crowning beauties on the Boardwalk, the Miss America pageant is moving to the Las Vegas Strip, organizers announced Wednesday.

It will be the first time the contest has been staged outside Atlantic City, N.J.

The Aladdin hotel-casino will host the pageant, scheduled to air Jan. 21 on Nashville, Tenn.-based cable channel Country Music Television, organizers told The Associated Press.

"What we wanted to do is find a new host city that has all glitz and glamour Miss America is known for," said Art McMaster, the pageant's chief executive. "Obviously Las Vegas is right at the top of this list."

The pageant has been dogged by financial troubles and slipping viewership in recent years. It was dropped by ABC last year, leaving Miss America without a network TV contract for the first time since 1954.

The famous beauty pageant, a fixture on the Boardwalk since its 1921 start as a bathing beauty revue, announced Thursday it will seek another city in hopes of changing its luck.

In August, McMaster surprised the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority by asking it to release the pageant from the last two years of its five-year contract.

The board voted 7-0 to release the pageant from its contract, saying it did not see the point in prolonging what Miss America officials said were money woes affecting the contest in New Jersey.

McMaster said the pageant could save up to $1 million by moving to a venue in a new city, between reduced telecast production costs and site fees potentially offered by a new location. and Country Music Television are both owned by Viacom.

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