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Here She Is, Missunderstood 

Suggestions for Miss America Makeover

With the Miss America pageant without a TV home due to low Nielsen ratings, there's been talk of a new format to make viewers care about a TV institution whose heyday has come and gone. But in the wacky world of TV, it's common for careers and shows to be resurrected with some tweaks, nips, and tucks, and maybe Miss America will prove to be no exception. I came up with a few ideas that may help, in case Donald Trump is interested.

Make them eat carbs. Borrowing from the Fear Factor model, ditch the worms and sheep testicles and line up the ladies and make them eat heavy carbs after 5pm. Mashed 'taters, Bojangles chicken, Little Debbie cakes, heck, Krispy Kreme while they're at it. Whoever's left standing without purging moves on to the next round.

Eliminate beauty as a prerequisite. Since women are judged every day on how they look rather than what they've got in their noggins, no wonder the pageant concept is tired. Throw a couple of brainy types in there with enlarged pores and no interest in makeup or foil highlights. This borrows, of course, from American Idol, when Ruben Studdard blew up the "they have to be a hottie" winner theory.

Add Dr. Phil to the mix. Let TV's resident tough love problem-solver find out why these women really want to be in pageants in modern times, and use a polygraph to back up the results — and eliminate the "scholarship money" excuse. Could work.

Troutman, new to Fox News Rising, hasn't worked on-air in television before. But hey, that's never stopped that show before.

SLAM DUNK RATINGS The April 4 UNC-Illinois hoops finals was a round-the-back tomahawk dunk in the ratings, both nationally and around these parts. Nielsen ratings showed that over 45 million people watched the game, which is the most to check out a final in six years.In the Charlotte market, which covers 22 counties and includes over a million people, about 42 percent of everyone who had a television turned on was watching the game. And that doesn't even take into account the sports bars, and other venues that had the game on.

SHORT SUBJECTS WFNZ-AM morning guy Jim Celania is out of the hospital and recovering at home after surgery to remove a tumor in his lung. The prognosis is good, and there's no word when he will return to "The Morning Page" program.Beth Troutman joins Fox Charlotte as the new morning co-host of Fox News Rising, after the departure of Adam Smasher, who's headed to a sweet radio gig at WKSC in Chicago. Troutman ran unsuccessfully for Congress last fall and has not worked on-air in television before. But hey, that's never stopped that show before.

Stay tuned.

Shannon Reichley is an independent television producer and former news manager at WBTV. Her latest project, Home Makers, is airing on the Turner South cable network. E-Mail at Shannon.Reichley@cln.com.

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