Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spokoinoi Nochi, Miss Universe

APFormer Miss Universe Oksana Fyodorova.
She's a police officer, a former Miss Universe and now the host of the country's most popular children's television show.

Oksana Fyodorova, who lost her crown just months after being named Russia's first Miss Universe, is donning a new hat as the host of "Spokoinoi Nochi, Malyshi," or "Good Night, Little Ones."

The raven-haired, green-eyed 25-year-old will appear with the program's much-loved puppets -- the mischievous piglet Khryusha, the charming rabbit Stepashka, and the good-natured puppy Filya -- four to eight times a month, sharing the role with two other hosts, said Lyudmila Zaitseva, general director of Klass!, which produces the seven-minute show for Rossia television.

Fyodorova, a police lieutenant and a postgraduate student in civil law, will host her first show Friday at 7:50 p.m. She will make a second appearance on Monday.

"It's a program with a good spirit. When I was a child I enjoyed watching it," Fyodorova said in a telephone interview from St. Petersburg, where she was making final preparations to defend her dissertation this week. "Now I've been given a chance to be the host of the program, and I decided to use it."

Fyodorova was named Miss Universe at a pageant in May but was later stripped of her title after pageant organizers complained that she was refusing to fulfill her duties as a beauty queen. Fyodorova has said she stepped down for personal reasons.

Zaitseva said it was Fyodorova's charm that won her the job.

"Beauty attracts everybody, including children," she said.

She said Fyodorova had a promising future in television, despite her lack of previous experience. "There is still a lot she will have to learn, but I have reason to say that everything will go right. She looks and acts pretty natural in front of the camera," she said.

Fyodorova acknowledged it was not easy being a television host, especially for the program aimed at small children. "I have gotten used to the camera," she said. "The main thing for me is to be as natural as possible and to be able to create a special atmosphere in seven minutes that will make our little children happy."

Fyodorova said the show's creators did not have to come up with any special on-screen persona for her.

"The main thing is to be myself because I don't need to make any kind of special image," she said. "I have the option of eventually thinking up something new."

She said three programs have already been filmed, and the shooting took one day.

Fyodorova told the Izvestia daily earlier this month that her favorite character on the show was Filya, the puppy.

But she denied having a favorite in the telephone interview. "If I had one, the others' feelings would be hurt," she said.

Prior to being crowned Miss Universe, Fyodorova won the title of Miss Russia in 2001 and Miss St. Petersburg in 1999.

These days, she is full-time student at the Interior Ministry University in St. Petersburg. A third-year postgraduate, she will defend her dissertation on the regulation of private detective agencies and security firms on Friday.

"I will be probably teach afterward," she said.

Fyodorova joins a television show will a turbulent past. "Spokoinoi Nochi, Malyshi" has been produced on a shoestring budget and moved from one channel to another over the past decade.

When financing dried up in 1991, a special farewell program was shown in which Khryusha and friends said goodbye. A public outcry caused the program to be reinstated.

In recent years, the staff on the show has worked without pay for months on end and at times even filmed in their own apartments.

Because commercials are not allowed during children's programs, Channel One, which broadcast the show for years, whittled it down to seven to eight minutes and sandwiched it between numerous commercials. That wasn't enough to keep it alive, and the channel ditched the show in August 2001.

"Spokoinoi Nochi, Malyshi" was then picked up by Kultura, another state-controlled channel. Earlier this year the show moved to state-owned Rossia, which announced that it planned to devote more airtime to children's programming.