C.J.: Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989, defends pageant

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 8, 2013 - 8:43 AM

Gretchen Carlson

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A gentle dressing down was administered to me Monday when I asked the anchor of Fox’s new “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson” how often beauty queens will be guests. Most beauty queens are not as smart or interesting to me as Carlson, Miss Minnesota 1988, who went on to become Miss America 1989.

“All of them in the Miss America system are [smart] so I will continue to honor the Miss America tradition,” she said. “I’m on the board. I was just at the pageant for my 25th anniversary three weeks ago. I would welcome any Miss America on my show at any time because they’ll probably be the smartest person in the room.”

Some of the answers given by certain beauty queens of late have not become viral videos sensations because they showed off their smarts.

“You know what — you’re confusing a lot of the same pageants, [mixing them] into one lump. Miss America has a talent category. None of the others do. Miss America focuses on the interview. And most importantly, it’s the largest scholarship program in the world for women. That’s why contestants enter the Miss America program.

“I’ve always said I’d have been dead last in the Miss USA system,” she said, laughing. “I’ve never considered myself a model — I’m 5-3 — for obvious reasons, I would not have done well. Miss America is a totally different organization. This year’s winner graduated from the University of Michigan and wants to be cardiologist. And speaking about cultural diversity — something we need to have more conversations about in our society — I’ll welcome her on anytime she’s in New York.”

Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri, is of Indian descent.

Carlson — who was formerly an anchor for “Fox and Friends,” the network’s morning show — is enjoying good ratings on her new show. Nielsen Media Research said that after week one, “The Real Story” averaged 1.1 million total viewers, delivering an 8 percent boost for the 2-3 p.m. time (ET) slot for the network compared to third-quarter ratings. The show airs in ­Minnesota at 1 p.m.

I’ve only seen one episode and I especially enjoyed the pop culture segments. For example, Carlson interviewed NY Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara, a virgin who doesn’t drink, about his faith. Amukamara has a fiancée, but since I don’t know when the marriage is, it’s unclear whether the NFLer’s status as a virgin will be changed before the 0-5 Giants win a game.

On one show last week, Carlson did have to make a correction: “We need to clarify something from an earlier segment this week. We said that the administration was advertising the Affordable Care Act in Cosmopolitan magazine. Cosmo did run several ­stories about the Affordable Care Act but did not run any ads.”

I asked Carlson if she had considered having someone on set making corrections at the end of each show, as Tony Reali does for “Pardon the ­Interruption” on ESPN.

“Well, actually, we did make the correction, so I don’t think we need that idea,” she said.

Vegas, baby!

“You know what? If he were carrying shampoo, they would have stopped him,” Barbara Walters said on ABC’s “The View” Monday, talking about the most elusive 9-year-old in Minnesota.

The kid made national news by getting past the TSA checkpoint at MSP International and then boarding a Delta flight to Las Vegas without a ticket. He took the light rail to the airport. Of course, we all know that you can ride it without a ticket or the fear of an official asking if you have a ticket.

I would love to interview this kid about his joy ride on an airplane, once he’s no longer under punishment But he probably shouldn’t be on TV; that would seem to be a reward for bad behavior. But I’ll bet somebody will book him.

Cat in the Hat-worthy chapeaus

Dr. Seuss’ hat collection will be on display at Jean Stephen Galleries’ grand reopening in St. Louis Park, 4811 Excelsior Blvd., Friday from 5-8 p.m.

Owner Steve Danko said children’s book author Theodor Seuss Geisel “was a hat guy. He had a collection of about 200 hats, and at a lot of his parties he would give hats to people and then they would take on that role. He was a very different man, wasn’t he?”

This steamer trunk of hats will be seen but not worn at the reopening.

 

C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.



 

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