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2013 Miss America photos: 53 contestants arrive; ABC adds third hour

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The 2013 Miss America Pageant contestants arrive at Planet Hollywood on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. The 92nd pageant is at PH Live on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013.
Photo: Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

2013 Miss America Pageant: Arrivals at Planet Hollywood

2013 Miss America Arrivals at Planet Hollywood/@24kMedia - from YouTube.com

2013 Miss America Arrivals at Planet Hollywood/@24kMedia - from YouTube.com

2013 Miss America Arrivals at Planet Hollywood/Richard Corey - from YouTube.com

2013 Miss America Arrivals at Planet Hollywood/Richard Corey - from YouTube.com

ABC has unexpectedly added an extra hour to next week’s normally 2-hour 2013 Miss America Pageant telecast from PH Live at Planet Hollywood.

Vegas DeLuxe has learned that the 3-hour block of Saturday, Jan. 12, primetime programming will kick off with a 1-hour taped special “The Road” to the crown and lead into Chris Harrison of “The Bachelor” and Brooke Burke Charvet of “Dancing With the Stars” co-hosting the 92nd pageant.

“We have been at work on this for the past year,” Miss America Organization Board Chairman Sam Haskell told me exclusively. “It’s an extraordinary coup for our 92nd anniversary, and it will be as news current as possible right up to the pageant starting.

“The cameras will film up to midnight, and then the news hour will be edited right up until airtime. So if there’s something dramatic or last minute, we have that hour to edit in the update at the end. Filming and editing right to the last moment is going to add something really new, different and edgy to start the excitement this year. No other pageant can claim that. ”

I believe that some of the pageant telecast judges, especially “Good Morning America’s” Sam Champion, will be an integral part of the news special. A TV industry friend in L.A told me that this is an impressive vote of confidence by ABC in the future of the pageant.

The network already has its camera teams in place to start shooting Friday morning, and I understand that Sam is flying in this weekend, earlier than originally planned for his judges duties, to start filming the news broadcast. This is the first time that the network has produced its own news special leading into the pageant, which scored big ratings last year in the coronation of Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler.

The news of the additional hour was revealed as the 53 pageant contestants for 2013 were introduced to media and fans for the first time this afternoon at host Planet Hollywood. Quad headliner entertainer Jeff Civillico served as MC.

Each contestant introduced herself and her home state, with Miss Nevada Randi Sundqvist winning laughs for her line, “We encourage you to open your wallets while here, as your dollar becomes our revenue.” Each pageant princess said something amusing about their home state while introducing themselves.

Miss Indiana MerrieBeth Cox made her arrival at the hotel with seconds to spare before the parade of princesses. The 22-year-old attends Purdue, and she has been the football team’s “Golden Girl” through all four seasons. MerrieBeth landed just 40 minutes earlier on a flight into McCarran Airport and at breakneck speed got her luggage and changed into a presentation outfit and tiara for photographers. The other contestants arrived safely today without any tales of lost luggage or missed connections.

Our thanks to Tom Donoghue for this great gallery of first-arrival photos. He’ll be on duty Friday when they meet Terry Fator at his Mirage theater and then Saturday at Fashion Show mall’s autograph-photo session, followed by a welcome dinner at Robert Earl’s Buca di Beppo. Thanks also to Christopher Rauschnot @24kMedia on Twitter and to Richard Corey for their videos of the arrival posted on YouTube.

Check back often for our coverage the next 10 days leading to the 2013 Miss America Pageant at PH Live in Planet Hollywood on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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