Stan E. Hubbard and his wife,Jennifer, flock newly minted Miss USA, Olivia Jordan/ photo by Lee Celeno

And the Miss USA crown goes to...Stan Hubbard?

Don't laugh -- too hard

Miss Oklahoma Olivia Jordan may have earned the coveted sash Sunday night, but save some confetti for Hubbard, the Twin Cities-raised businessman who runs ReelzChannel, the cable channel that picked up coverage of the event less than two weeks ago.

NBC dropped the ceremonies following controversial comments about Mexican immigrants made by presidential candidate Donald Trump, part owner of the Miss USA franchise.

Hubbard, whose operation is only available in about 69 percent of US homes, scooped up the rights, despite having little time to sell ad space and displaying zero support for Trump's statements.

At first glance, the numbers look to be less than stellar.

Nielsen calculated Tuesday that the show averaged about 925,000 viewers, far less than the 5.6 million that tuned into NBC last season. But Hubbard was able to find a few positive spins. Among them:

* Aournd 2.5 million people checked in for at least six minutes of the ceremonies over the course of two airings. "We're not NBC, but we blew away numbers I thought we'd hit," Hubbard said Tuesday,.

* The fact that many advertisers may have stayed away due to Trump's comments gave Hubbard an opportunity to dedicate commercial time to the promotion of several upcoming Reelz projects,including a Whitney Houston documentary and a new reality series about the life of rapper Mr. P. "Probably half the viewers we had have never been to Reelz before," Hubbard said.

According to Nielsen, the pageant registered more relevant tweets Sunday evening than any other show of the week, including "The Bachelorette" and "True Detective."

* The broadcast was the second most watched program in Reelz' history, falling only behind the 2011 mini-series "The Kennedys," another program Hubbard adopted after another channel backed off.

One side note missed by many in the mainstream media: "Miss USA" has done an impressive job promoting women of color in recent years. In fact,the 2014 winner, Nia Sanchez, and this year's second and third-place finishers -- Ylianna Guerra and Anea Garcia respectively -- are all Hispanic-Americans.

Hubbard, who attended the event in Baton Rouge, followed up Tuesday by watching his 10-year-old son play hockey in Stillwater.

So which event was more spectacular?

"I'll be careful," he said, taking a break while kids skated across the ice. "I always enjoy watching my son, but the MIss USA Pageant was more glamourous because my wife, Jennifer, looked so beautiful."

Now who's the real politician in this story?

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