Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 | 4:53 p.m.
See all of the Sun's 2010 Miss America Pageant coverage.
When TV host Clinton Kelly signed on for the TLC series What Not to Wear, he thought it would be over in 10 weeks. “I never dreamed, and I still can’t believe it, that we reach the staggering 250th show tomorrow night,” Clinton told me in an exclusive interview. “I thought I’d go crawling back to my old boss to ask for my old job back.
“It never happened, and here we are still growing and getting better. It’s really flattering for me knowing it’s so successful and so many people watch it and love it. It’s a simple formula. We’re helping women find themselves. The average American woman has become frustrated by designer clothes that only work on size 2 girls with hourglass figures from starving themselves as models.
“We’re all about real clothes for real women that they can buy in a store near home. It’s amazing what the show does. The women really undergo an emotional transformation. They go from being really in a rut to wanting to go out and conquer the world.”
Clinton’s 250th show airs tomorrow night in the hour before his Miss America: Behind the Curtain special of the 2010 Miss America Pageant. He’ll also be featured on Saturday night’s pageant as host Mario Lopez’s roving correspondent.
Clinton added: “Both What Not to Wear and the Miss America TV special are Cinderella stories. Everybody wants that silver slipper moment -- that thrill of something beautiful happening to them. I’m convinced that’s why weddings are so popular with people. That’s why Miss America is so popular. Everybody dreams of that perfect romance, being married, becoming Miss America, even if it’s for a moment. “
He said that his Behind the Curtain special is an unusual and ambitious undertaking: “It’s one of the quickest turnarounds ever tackled. We won’t even know until tonight’s third preliminary who are the 12 contestants the others have picked to make up ‘America’s Choice.’ That voting will start on at the conclusion of tomorrow night’s broadcast.
“It’s really been great getting to know all the girls. They are all cool, down to Earth and pretty neat. I am super-impressed by some of them. They’re more than just talented. They are smart and driven for success.”
I asked Clinton why reality TV shows of trashy, troubled stars get bigger ratings than shows that spotlight good news. He told me: “America in 2010 is just not the same country it used to be. It’s definitely not the same country when Miss America first began. For better or worse, we are a lot different. Bad behavior definitely gets the most attention, and that is very sad.
“I’m convinced, though, that people behaving badly will end at some point. It does get old. It does get boring seeing the same troubled, woeful people. It simply can’t last forever.
“What Not to Wear is a show with a good heart. They might label Miss America as a goody two shoes show, but people do love it. It’s a big success for TLC, and my message to everybody is that in the end, good will prevail.”
More Miss America news
*Today, Mario Lopez appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to discuss his role as the host for the 2010 Miss America Pageant on Saturday from Planet Hollywood. Mario is returning to the pageant for the third time, as he first hosted in 2007. Tomorrow night, he hosts a Miss America pre-party at Prive in Planet Hollywood with DJ Finesse behind the wheels of steel.
*All 53 contestants and reigning 2009 Miss America Katie Stam will celebrate the ribbon cutting of PH Towers Westgate tomorrow at 5 p.m. The 52-story glass PH Towers Westgate includes a landscaped tropical pool with a sandy beach and 32 cabanas and 1,200 luxury, all-suite accommodations and 28 penthouses. Custom-designed interior furnishings include fully functional stainless steel kitchens, a state-of-the-art home theater, high-definition flat-panel televisions, relaxing whirlpool tubs and extraordinary views of the Las Vegas skyline.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.