The Steve Harvey fail that saw Miss Colombia holding the Miss Universe crown for the shortest time is still fodder for the nightly news in this side of the United States only that this time, the fiasco has morphed a slew of conspiracy theories. Even the venerable Washington Post asked whether the mix-up was a publicity stunt that was deliberately planned all along.
“It was so perfect. Maybe … a little too perfect,” the Post said.
“The Miss Universe pageant is hardly a ratings magnet — last year it garnered about 7.6 million viewers, its highest ratings in a decade, and the event is fairly under the radar in the United States. Plus, a Sunday night in December (five days before Christmas, no less) is hardly an ideal time to air any program aside from football. The pageant, airing on Fox for the first time, had to make a splash. And it did. A big one.”
American business, celebrity and technology news website Business Insider, meanwhile, wrote: “This live contest is tightly scripted to fit a time slot. It’s got to be done by 11 p.m. ET (Eastern Time). For beauty pageants, producers leave you hanging until after the last commercial break, with roughly two minutes remaining. This year, the winner was announced with about six minutes remaining. Good thing there was enough time to clear up their mistake!”
“If you watch the You Tube video….the congratulatory music sequence ends naturally and organically as Harvey returns to the stage. As if it was timed.”
Anyway, for someone who made such a huge booboo, Harvey isn’t shying away from all the publicity (or notoriety) generated by his Miss Universe mix-up. In fact, he’s milking it for all it’s worth. Five days after the pageant, Harvey even posted a Christmas greeting on his Facebook page that read: “Merry Easter, y’all!”
The Post says: “…the incredibly viral incident seemed like a planned mistake, as it ensured that everyone was talking about Steve Harvey, best known as a daytime talk show and ‘Family Feud’ host.”
Fueling the conspiracy rumors is the recent report that Harvey wasn’t being let go but in fact, even received an invitation to return as the host of next year’s Miss Universe pageant.
Obviously, Harvey’s blunder did not offend Mark Shapiro, the owner of the Miss Universe Organization’s parent company, WME-IMG. “I definitely want him back,” Shapiro reportedly said during a radio interview last Tuesday. “I would hate to see him not come back. He’s going to want a shot to redeem himself.”
But more conspiracy theorists are bound to pounce on the recent revelation that Steve Harvey’s ties with WME-IMG goes back more than a year before he hosted the now viral beauty contest.
In an interview for the magazine Black Enterprise’s December 2014/January 2015 Business of Entertainment issue, “Harvey talked about his relationship with the Miss Universe pageant and dropped a tidbit about him serving as not only a host for the event, but as a business partner with WME/IMG.”
“I have a deal with the talent part of [WME/IMG], but I also have a deal with the business part of it,” says Harvey who admits to being asked twice to host the pageant before finally coming on board. “A part ownership in it.”
“In September of this year, WME/IMG purchased the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants from Donald Trump for an undisclosed amount. Negotiating terms that will take his investment in the pageant beyond hosting duties, Harvey thanks his business partner Gerald Washington for helping to close his multiyear deal, and says he hopes to take the franchise to a new level,” the magazine said.
“If I take this and can do to this franchise what I’ve done with the Steve Harvey Show or Family Feud, it could be very successful for us,” Harvey told Black Enterprise.
From the looks of it, it appears Mr. Harvey played us all and played us good. Too bad for our new Filipina Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach, she became an innocent victim of a well-planned publicity stunt. Blame that on the PR and marketing aphorism that any publicity is good publicity.