THE 46th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, (to be broadcast live Sunday night on ABC-TV), will boast female co-hosts. ABC comedy stars Patricia Richardson of ''Home Improvement'' and Ellen DeGeneres of ''Ellen'' will preside over the ceremony.
''Pat and Ellen complement each other nicely,'' producer Don Mischer says. ''One is a key player in the most popular comedy on television right now, and Ellen is edgier and on the way up.'' The selection of Ms. Richardson and Ms. DeGeneres, made in part by ABC and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, breaks new ground by pairing two women.
Twenty-seven awards will be presented during the approximately three-hour event. Top nominees include ABC's ''NYPD Blue,'' with a series record 26 nominations; the HBO drama ''And the Band Played On,'' about AIDS; ''Gypsy'' from CBS; and the NBC comedies ''Seinfeld'' and ''Frasier.''
Presenters include Tim Allen, Brett Butler, Dennis Franz, Heather Locklear, Jay Leno, Paul Reiser, Garry Shandling, and last year's Emmy host, Angela Lansbury.
David Caruso, Mr. Franz's ''NYPD Blue'' co-star and fellow Emmy nominee, may skip the ceremony. Mr. Caruso is leaving the police drama and has said he wants to avoid a barrage of media questions about his decision.
Last year, it was executives from CBS, NBC, and Fox who were stay-at-homes, boycotting the Emmys to protest ABC's exclusive four-year broadcast deal. ABC has since agreed to relinquish its hold two years early, and the ceremony will rotate annually among the networks.