Roker makes beauty call on Miss USA
Reported July 12, 2005
By RICHARD HUFF
DAILY NEWS TV EDITOR
Miss USA 2006, Tara Elizabeth Conner, celebrates her win.
Until recently, the only chicken cutlets Al Roker knew about went on a grill.
He now also knows that the rubber, removable breast enhancers used in beauty pageants are also called chicken cutlets.
“I’m thinking Perdue,” said Roker of learning about the nonedible cutlets.
He got firsthand experience with the beauty trick as the executive producer of “Uncovered: The Hidden Lives of Miss USA,” a new documentary airing tomorrow night at 9 on E! Entertainment.
The program goes behind the scenes at the Miss USA Pageant of 2006. Roker and his crews spent three weeks leading to the annual pageant, culminating with the show itself.
“I always took these things for granted,” Roker said. “It’s kind of like, you may like sausage, but you don’t want to see it made. You may like Miss USA, but I think you’ll actually enjoy what goes on.”
“Miss USA,” for the record, airs on NBC – the same network of Roker’s morning home on “Today” – and is produced and owned by Donald Trump.
The NBC connection had nothing to do with the show, Roker said. Instead, it stems from a chance meeting at a fund-raiser, with 2004 Miss USA Shandi Finnessey. The beauty gave Roker insight into the show and he was taken with the fact that Miss USA shares a New York apartment with Miss Universe, and Miss Teen USA.
“I thought, lo and behold, this is a reality show,” Roker said. “And if it does well enough, it could wind up a series.”
Roker said the E! show includes some beauty aspects, some drama and some humor.
“It’s one of those shows that has a little something for everyone,” said Roker, who produced the show with Lisa Sharkey and Sara Nichols.
There’s no set timetable for a reality series based on the Miss USA Pageant, Roker explained.
And it won’t be the first. Recently, the people behind the Miss America Pageant said they would launch a reality show tracking contestants up to the ceremony, which now airs on CMT.
Still, Roker said there are stark differences between the two events.
“I think there is more of a sense of fun with the Miss USA pageant,” Roker said. “It’s not quite steeped in Americana. The problem the Miss America folks had was it didn’t evolve. They got left behind. Miss USA has more of a sense of humor, a sense of fun.”