Reelz Picks Up Miss USA Pageant Amid Donald Trump Backlash

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By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The Miss USA pageant, left without a TV home following blowback against co-owner Donald Trump over his comments on Mexican immigrants, has been rescued by the Reelz channel.

In a statement Thursday, Reelz CEO Stan E. Hubbard said the cable and satellite channel acquired the rights because of a belief that the pageant and the women who compete in it "are an integral part of American tradition."

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"As one of only a few independent networks, we decided to exercise our own voice and committed ourselves to bringing this pageant to American viewers everywhere," Hubbard said.

While Reelz, which reaches 70 million homes, said it considered the interests of Miss USA contestants, the host city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and viewers in making its decision, it made no mention of Trump or the hot water he's found himself in since he announced his presidential bid in June.

In this June 16, 2013 photo, Donald Trump, left, and Miss Connecticut USA Erin Brady pose onstage after Brady won the 2013 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas.Jeff Bottari / AP

RELATED: Mexico Drops Out of Donald Trump's Miss Universe Pageant

The statement also did not include details on how Reelz acquired the rights to broadcast the pageant that is a joint venture between Trump and NBC, as is Miss Universe. NBC cited Trump's comments on immigrants in announcing it is cutting business ties with him.

Trump's presidential campaign announcement contained his assertion that some Mexican immigrants to the United States bring drugs and crime, and some are rapists. Trump declined to comment on the Reelz acquisition.

Reelz said the Miss USA pageant will be televised July 12, its originally scheduled date on NBC. The pageant will have to scramble after a mass exodus of performers, hosts and judges who cited opposition to Trump's views as the reason.