"ACCESS HOLLYWOOD'S" NANCY O'DELL AND ACTOR/SINGER CARLOS PONCE TO HOST MISS UNIVERSE� 2006, LIVE FROM THE SHRINE AUDITORIUM IN LOS ANGELES ON NBC, SUNDAY, JULY 23, 9-11 PM ET
Carson Kressley and Former Miss USA Shandi Finnessey to Provide Skybox Commentary
"Las Vegas" Star James Lesure Among Celebrity Judges
Sony BMG Recording Artist Chelo to Perform
Burbank -- July 13, 2006 - "Access Hollywood's" Nancy O'Dell, along with actor/singer Carlos Ponce ("7th Heaven"), will host NBC'S broadcast of MISS UNIVERSE� 2006 live from the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, on Sunday, July 23 at 9:00p.m. ET/delayed PT. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the Miss Universe competition, and its first time broadcasting in the United States in eight years. The last show hosted by the United States was held in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1998.
In addition,"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's" Carson Kressley, who provided the skybox commentary for the 2006 Miss USA Pageant, returns to reprise the same role for Miss Universe 2006 with former Miss USA (and Miss Universe 2004 first runner-up) Shandi Finnessey, who will also provide her unique insight.
Celebrity judges include NBC's "Las Vegas" star James Lesure, NBC's latest winner from "The Apprentice" Sean Yazbeck, NBC's "Deal or No Deal" briefcase model Claudia Jordan, Telemundo's "Al Rojo Vivo" anchor Maria Celeste Arraras, former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith, renowned fashion photographer Patrick McMullan, and former Miss Universe Amelia Vega. Additional judges will be announced at a later date.
Sony BMG artist Chelo will perform his new song "Cha Cha" during the two-hour live telecast. Chelo's debut album "360�" is a unique blend of pop, urban and Latin music, which is the perfect combination for the exotic Miss Universe Competition. In addition, 28-year-old opera-sensation Vittorio Grigolo will perform selections from his debut album, "In The Hands Of Love."
Natalie Glebova, Miss Universe 2005, will crown her successor at the conclusion of the telecast. Each contestant from 86 countries around the world will be judged in three categories, swimsuit, evening gown and interview.
"My year as Miss Universe has meant more to me than I can express," said Canadian-native Glebova. "I have traveled the world on behalf of various HIV/AIDS organizations, promoting education, research and legislation and I walk away from this experience feeling like I truly made an impact."
Glebova's year-long reign began with a highly publicized trip to South Africa where she publicly took an HIV test, setting an example for the world on the importance of getting tested. On this same trip she met with Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Glebova spent the remainder of her year acting as an advocate for organizations such as Global Health Council, amfAR, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in countries all over the world, including India, Thailand, and Colombia.
The Gurin Company will again produce the pageant with veteran television writer and executive producer Phil Gurin. The Gurin Company, established in 1997, has become one of television's preeminent, full-service production companies with more than a dozen projects in development for network, cable and syndication in the areas of reality shows, game shows, variety shows, holiday specials, magazine and documentary programming and live entertainment. Gurin is best known as executive producer of the NBC primetime game show, Weakest Link.
The Miss Universe Organization, producers of the MISS UNIVERSE�, MISS USA� and MISS TEEN USA� competitions, is a Donald J. Trump and NBC partnership. Utilizing its global grass roots infrastructure, the Miss Universe Organization is committed to increasing HIV/AIDS Awareness and women's health and reproductive issues. By forging relationships with organizations committed to research and education, such as the Global Health Council, Gods Love We Deliver and the United Nations Population Fund's Face-to-Face Campaign, Miss Universe is armed to impact women today.