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Will 'Mad Men' make Emmy history?

AMC's stylish period drama " Mad Men" is poised to make history at the 60th annual Emmy Awards.

If it wins in the best drama category, "Mad Men" will be the first basic cable show to receive such an honor.

However, the show that earned a total of 16 Emmy nominations -- and won four in the Creative Arts Emmy Awards doled out last week -- still faces an uphill battle both on and off screen. Emmy votors are notorious for shying away from period-based series, and the audience for the acclaimed show is small, even by basic cable standards.

The show -- set on Madison Avenue in the advertising world of the 1960s -- faces its stiffest competition in the drama category from popular broadcast shows such as ABC's " Lost" and Fox's "House."

Other races to watch:

Best Comedy series: NBC's low-rated but acclaimed " 30 Rock" aims to pick up its second consecutive Emmy in this category.

Competitive reality show: Will TV's most popular series -- Fox's " American Idol" -- finally snatch the award from CBS' "Amazing Race," which has won the honor every year since this category's inception?

Best Miniseries: HBO's historical miniseries " John Adams" could make history of its own. The lavish production starring Paul Giamatti as the second U.S. president was nominated for a total of 23 Emmys, and won eight during the Creative Arts Emmys.

Also watch for Christina Applegate to make her first public appearance since undergoing a double mastectomy since she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. She is nominated for best lead actress in a comedy for " Samantha Who?"

The three-hour show will air on ABC at 8 p.m. from the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

Hosting the event will be all five nominees in the best reality TV show host category: last year's host, Ryan Seacrest from "American Idol"; Tom Bergeron from ABC's "Dancing with the Stars"; Heidi Klum of Bravo's " Project Runway"; Howie Mandel of NBC's "Deal or No Deal"; and Jeff Probst of CBS' "Survivor."

susan.king@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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