The Miss USA pageant will now air locally on WBRZ’s sister station WBTR TV, a station available to viewers in the Baton Rouge metro area who get cable through Cox Communication and Eatel.
WBRZ announced late Wednesday that the pageant would air on the local broadcast in addition to a live stream on the Miss USA website and a national broadcast on the Reelz network.
The local broadcast adds to the accessibility of the pageant that was dropped by national networks NBC and Univision more than a week ago after Miss Universe/Miss USA owner Donald Trump said Mexico was sending criminals into the United States.
The WBTR channel is on broadcast channel 41 locally, Cox Communications cable channel 19 and Eatel cable channel 144. WBTR does not reach Lafayette or New Orleans.
The Reelz channel is also available to AT&T Uverse, DirectTV and Dish Network customers
The WBTR broadcast will be the same viewers would see if they were watching the pageant on the Reelz channel. WBRZ Executive Producer Trey Schmaltz would not say whether the station was paying the Reelz channel to air the broadcast. However, he said, members of the Manship family that own WBRZ are close friends with the Hubbard family, which runs Reelz.
WBRZ General Manager Rocky Daboval said the decision to air the pageant is unrelated to Trump’s controversial comments and his political aspirations.
“This was a decision that was made solely on our customers and knowing what they wanted,” Schmaltz added.
The Miss USA pageant has experienced numerous bumps in the road during the past couple of weeks as companies have cut ties with Trump and performers, judges and hosts have pulled out of the pageant. Earlier this week, the pageant had no scheduled hosts or performers.
On Tuesday, Miss USA announced three new hosts, but the pageant still has not announced any performers. The performers section of the Miss USA website has been removed.
The pageant is now only a few days a way, with the contestants competing in the preliminary pageant on Wednesday night.
The competition for the crown starts at 7 p.m. Sunday and will be broadcast from the Baton Rouge River Center.