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[02/23/05 - 12:00 AM]
Bangkok and Baltimore Selected to Host Miss Universe and Miss USA 2005 Pageants, Respectively

[via press release from NBC]

BANGKOK AND BALTIMORE SELECTED TO HOST MISS UNIVERSE� AND MISS USA� 2005 PAGEANTS, RESPECTIVELY

NBC to Broadcast Miss Universe 2005 Live from Bangkok, Thailand, May 30, 9-11pm ET

Peacock to Present Miss USA 2005 Live from Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre, April 11, 9-11pm ET

"Access Hollywood's" Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell to Host Both Pageants

NEW YORK -- February 23, 2005 -- NBC, Donald Trump, and Paula Shugart, President, Miss Universe Organization announced today that Bangkok and Baltimore have been selected as the host cities for the 2005 Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants, respectively. Miss USA 2005 will broadcast live from Baltimore's historic Hippodrome Theatre on Monday, April 11, 9-11pm ET, while Miss Universe 2005 will air live from Bangkok, Thailand on NBC Monday, May 30, 9-11pm ET and will also be simulcast on Telemundo. This year's pageants, both hosted by "Access Hollywood's" Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell, mark the third consecutive year NBC has broadcast these events.

"NBC is happy to celebrate our third year broadcasting the MISS UNIVERSE�, MISS USA� and MISS TEEN USA� pageants," said Curt Sharp, Vice President, Alternative Programs and Specials. "It's a wonderful extension of our partnership with Donald Trump. We look forward to being in Baltimore this year for Miss USA and also hope the selection of Thailand as the host country for Miss Universe will continue to bring much needed support and awareness to that region"

"We felt during our first trip to Bangkok last June that we had found our home for the next Miss Universe competition," said Shugart, President, Miss Universe Organization. "The officials we met with in Thailand showed great enthusiasm at the prospect of hosting the three-week event. After the tragic tsunami of December 26th, all discussions were put on hold out of respect for the country and its people. In recent weeks the Thai Government and the other entities involved returned to us, certain of their desire to host the Pageant, its contestants and their families and friends. We are honored and look forward to the privilege of helping Thailand as it begins to rebuild its tourism industry. We have told Minister Kunplome that he has our full support."

"We send our sincerest thanks to The Miss Universe Organization for all the support and enthusiasm they have shown since this process began," said Thailand's Minister of Sport and Tourism, Mr. Sontaya Kunplome. "We know that bringing the Pageant to Thailand is one of the many steps in re-building our economy and boosting our tourism. There is no better time, for our people and our economy, for us to bring this worldwide event to our country."

Jennifer Hawkins, 21, crowned Miss Universe 2004 on June 1 in Quito, Ecuador, will officially anoint her successor on May 30 in Bangkok. "My year as Miss Universe has been life-changing," said Australian native Hawkins. "I have learned and grown so much as a result of my travels and all my work with HIV/AIDS programs. I'm so grateful for the experience." Hawkin's reign has taken her around the globe to India, Germany, Thailand, Ecuador, Brazil, Cuba, Indonesia, Trinidad, Greece, Canada, Australia and Puerto Rico as an ambassador for organizations like YouthAIDS, the Global Health Council, amfAR, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and God's Love We Deliver.

Shandi Finnessey, 26, named Miss USA 2004 on April 12 in Los Angeles, California, will crown Miss USA 2005 on April 11 in Baltimore. Finnessey, hailing from Florissant, Missouri, became the first ever Miss Missouri to win the Miss USA title. "All of my travels this year have been so eye-opening," said Finnessey. "I've returned from each one with a renewed appreciation of my own country and the things that make it so unique." Finnessey has spent her year championing the official causes of Miss USA, including breast and ovarian cancer education, research, and legislation. Her global travels as an advocate for the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO); the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund; the National Breast Cancer Coalition; Susan G. Komen, and Gilda's Club, have taken her all over the USA and beyond to Ecuador, Korea, Thailand, Cuba, St. Maarten, Germany and London.

This year marks the 54th anniversary of both the Miss USA and Miss Universe competitions, which began in 1952 as concurrent events in Long Beach, California. In 1960, they moved to Miami Beach, Florida for the inaugural telecast, and in 1965 the two pageants became separate events and since 1972 have been telecast from various exotic locales around the world. Miss Universe attracts an estimated audience of 1 billion people throughout 170 countries worldwide, while the Miss USA broadcast reaches 250 million people in more than 73 countries.

About Thailand

Of Thailand's 62 million residents, almost 10 million reside in Bangkok, known in Thai as the "City of Angels." The 222-year-old city, which is rapidly becoming one of the premiere fashion capitals of the world, is a dazzling mix of towering sky scrapers, shimmering golden temples (including the dazzling and not to be missed "Grand Palace") and unique shopping districts. The city is also home to many ancient canals, which once afforded Bangkok the title "Venice of the East." Outside the city's 200-plus mile perimeter, the landscape is diverse. From the lush green mountainous forests of Northern Thailand to the stunning tropical white-sand beaches along the Andaman Sea (home to some of the world's best snorkeling and scuba diving) the country offers a variety of scenic tours and relaxing destinations. The Pageant will be hosted by Matching Studio Public Company Limited, Bangkok Broadcasting & TV Company Limited and BBTV Productions Company Limited, three of the most prominent companies in Thailand.

About Baltimore

Baltimore has retained its sense of history, art and tradition, while carefully blending in cosmopolitan progress. With over one hundred community festivals, concerts, and events organized annually, more than 1.5 million visitors per year delight in the discovery of Baltimore's charms. During the three-week pageant period, thousands of friends, family members and fans are expected to visit Maryland and millions will tune-in to watch the live telecast, providing substantial exposure for the city and state.

The Gurin Company will again produce all three pageants 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.





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