August 15, 2005 08:00 AM

Ellen DeGeneres will be back as host of the Emmys, marking her first trip back to the podium since her much-praised performance in 2001 after the September 11 attacks.

“You know me, any excuse to put on a dress,” the habitually pant-wearing DeGeneres, 47, quipped in a statement issued by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

This season’s 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be held Sept. 18 and air on CBS.

In 2001, the telecast was delayed twice before finally airing in early November. DeGeneres walked a fine line between comedy and seriousness throughout the program, which featured displays of patriotism such as a rendition of “America the Beautiful” mixed with DeGeneres’s trademark comic observations. Her hard work was rewarded at the end of the program with a standing ovation from the entire audience.

In this year’s Emmy race, the new hit Desperate Housewives and the veteran sitcom Will & Grace each scored 15 nominations. Though the shows are both in the running for top comedy series, there were omissions in their parade of nominations.

Housewives star Eva Longoria didn’t make the cut for acting, though costars Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman did. Similarly, Debra Messing, the Grace of Will & Grace, was left off the list, leaving the race to the Housewives and Everybody Loves Raymond‘s Patricia Heaton and Malcolm in the Middle‘s Jane Kaczmarek.

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