Game show host, actress to host Miss USA pageant
Change comes in wake of Trump controversy
The Miss USA pageant has new hosts, part of its effort to hastily rebound from fallout caused by billionaire Donald Trump's criticism of Mexican immigrants.
Game show host Todd Newton and former Miss Wisconsin USA, actress and TV host Alex Wehrley were announced Tuesday by the Reelz channel as the pageant's new hosts, just five days before Sunday's telecast.
The pageant saw a mass exodus of its hosts, presenters and performers after Trump, a coowner of pageant producer Miss Universe, said last late month that some Mexican immigrants to the U.S. bring drugs and crime and some are rapists.
Trump, a Republican, made his remarks as he kicked off his presidential bid. NBC, Trump's pageant partner, cited his comments when it cut business ties with him and dropped its Miss USA telecast.
Cable and satellite channel Reelz acquired the rights last week. Its CEO, Stan E. Hubbard, said he disagreed with Trump's comments but believed the pageant and its contestants are “an integral part of American tradition.”
Original hosts Cheryl Burke of “Dancing With the Stars” and MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts withdrew in response to Trump's remarks. Jeannie Mai, who hosted a show on the Style Network, also was no longer on board as master of ceremonies, Reelz said Tuesday.
Others who dropped out of pageant roles included rapper Flo Rida and country singer Craig Wayne Boyd, who were to perform, and judges including HGTV star Jonathan Scott, E! News anchor Terrence Jenkins and Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith.
The only other addition announced Tuesday by Reelz was OK! TV's Julie Alexandria as backstage host.
Among other repercussions for Trump, Univision abandoned its Spanish-language simulcast of the pageant, Macy's department store said it would end its relationship with the candidate and New York City officials said they were reviewing the city's contracts with Trump in light of his comments.
Game show host Todd Newton arrives at the 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. in 2013. The Reelz channel said Tuesday, that game show host Newton and former Miss Wisconsin USA Alex Wehrley will emcee the Sunday Miss USA Pageant telecast, replacing hosts who dropped out because of Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants.