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Denton To Host Miss America

James Denton, who plays a hunky plumber on ABC's "Desperate Housewives," will host the 2006 Miss America pageant, which is heading to the Las Vegas Strip in hopes of boosting ratings and updating the contest's image.

Country Music Television, a Nashville, Tenn.-based cable channel, will air the contest live from the Aladdin Resort & Casino on Jan. 21.

"As a star on TV's hottest show," Denton "brings excitement and class to the pageant," Art McMaster, chief executive of the Miss America Organization, said in a statement Wednesday.

The beauty pageant announced last week that it was moving to Las Vegas after 84 years in Atlantic City, N.J.

In recent years, the event has been dogged by financial troubles and slipping viewership. ABC dropped the show last year, leaving Miss America without a network TV contract for the first time since 1954.

Last year's Miss America master of ceremonies was Chris Harrison, host of reality TV show "The Bachelor." "American Idol" heartthrob Clay Aiken serenaded the winner with "There She Is" during her runway walk.

Country Music Television and are both owned by Viacom.

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