PASADENA, Calif. - Miss America's new host hasn't actually watched the pageant since his frat-house days 20 years ago.
"I don't watch a lot of TV in general," Desperate Housewives hunk James Denton said in an interview Wednesday at the TV critics' semiannual gathering.
"Maybe it was just the promotion. ... I never really knew when it was on. It kind of came and went without me noticing. I've never been a big follower of pageants."
Thanks for sharing, James.
Having gotten the boot from ABC, the ratings-challenged pageant will air live at 8 p.m. Jan. 21 on CMT from Las Vegas. It's the first cable telecast for Miss A., and the first time in its 85-year history that it won't be in Atlantic City.
Denton, a University of Tennessee journalism grad who planned to be a priest, says he was surprised to get the gig.
"Some actors think you should do nothing but act or you won't be taken seriously," he says. A Nashville native with a "soft spot" for country music, Denton says he was an easy sell. A production deal with CMT didn't hurt, either.
Signing Denton was "a home run," says Miss America CEO Art McMaster. "He's one of the hottest stars on one of the hottest shows."
As the "There She Is" theme song blared, the Q&A session opened with all 52 contestants parading into the ballroom wearing evening gowns and sashes representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All were smiling and had perfect posture.
Denton, who turns 43 on Jan. 20, won't sing. He won't dance, and he won't crack wise.
"They didn't hire a comedian for a reason," he says. "They thought I would make the women [in the pageant] feel more comfortable.
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