Donald Trump looking to sell his stake in pageants
Donald Trump with Miss USA 2013 winner Erin Brady.Photo: AP
Donald Trump is ready to ditch the tiara.
The real-estate magnate is exploring a sale of his 49 percent stake in the Miss Universe Organization after NBC and Univision dumped the beauty pageant business over remarks he made about Mexican immigrants in announcing his run for president last month, The Post has learned.
Trump is mulling a sale after getting approached by several interested parties, said a source close to the situation. NBCUniversal co-owns Miss Universe, which also includes the Miss American and Miss Teen pageants.
NBC and Spanish-language broadcaster Univision refused to air the Miss USA pageant, as scheduled, on July 12. Niche cable network Reelz picked up the rights.
The pageant drew just 925,000 viewers on Reelz, down sharply from the 5.6 million viewers who watched the show on NBC in 2014, according to Nielsen data.
Trump has sued Univision in New York state court for $500 million over its decision to drop the pageant programming and plans to file a similar suit against NBC, a source said.
But the fallout could not have come at a worse time for Miss Universe While Trump didn’t start the Miss USA pageant, he did come up with the idea of turning it into franchise business. Franchisees who buy the rights to hold state contests are busy preparing for pageant season that kicks off in the fall.
In New York, Debbie Miller and Cindy Provost are trying to sign up sponsors and contestants, who pay to participate. The Miss New York USA and Miss New York Teen USA contests are scheduled for Jan. 15 to 17 in West Harrison. Franchisees will have a harder time attracting interest if there is no hope for the local winner to get on broadcast television.
“There have been some [local] sponsors that showed concern,” actress Shanna Moakler, who also runs the Nevada Miss USA and Miss Teen pageants, told The Post.
The organization can rebound if Trump sells or finds new broadcast partners willing to replace NBC and Univision, she added.
“I’m hoping within the next couple of months they figure out what to do with the franchise,” Moakler said. “It’s really critical something takes place in the next couple of months.”
She said she makes a small amount of money from the pageant after accounting for the franchise fee she pays.
“Right now I think it would be best if we sold to another person because his comments were so polarizing,” said Moakler, who has a teenage daughter with Mexican-American boxer Oscar De La Hoya.
‘They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us,” Trump said during his presidential announcement speech. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.’ “
Moakler said she supported the organization over the past month because the contest is about the women and not its owners.
“I am not going to allow comments made in the political arena impact my girls.”