Game show host, ac­tress to host Miss USA pageant af­ter Trump immigration con­tro­versy

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY LYNN EL­BER

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.

Trump filed suit against Univi­sion and said that Macy’s and NBC “caved” at the prospect of dif­fi­culty with spe­cial in­ter­est groups.

AP PHOTOS

Game show host Todd New­ton and for­mer Miss Wis­con­sin USA, ac­tress and TV host Alex Wehrley will co-host Sun­day’s Miss USA pageant.

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