Mt. Emmy: To reach the summit of television's top award, wrap yourself in raves and pack lots of buzz. Altitude readings are by Greg Braxton, Maria Elena Fernandez, Elena Howe, Denise Martin and Tom O'Neil.


MAD, MAD WORLD: Not in more than two decades has one show and one writer dominated a writing category like Matt Weiner's four nods for "Mad Men." The '80s saw Steven Bochco pull in three at a time and the "SCTV" team five.


LATE TO THE PARTY: How many degrees of separation are there between screen veteran Kevin Bacon and a major acting award? Too many to count. His nod for HBO's "Taking Chance" is his first biggie -- and that includes the Oscars.

END OF THE RACE: As good as "The Amazing Race" is, if it wins the top reality competition prize again this year -- which would make it 7 for 7 -- it will be time to hand it a lifetime achievement award and be done with it.


BABY STEPS: "Big Love" finally cracked Emmy's resistance with a nod for the series, but where are the actors? Look for them next year when the creators promise big moments for the actresses, who will be "starting from new positions of reality and conflicts . . . with all the excitement and danger that implies."

THIS MEANS NOTHING: The women in the lead actress in a drama category have three Oscars and 11 Oscar nominations among them. Their male counterparts, well, they have none.


IT'S HONOR-IFIC: Given HBO's domination of past miniseries/made-for-TV movie categories, the folks behind PBS' "Little Dorrit" must surely be repeating the mantra, "It's an honor just to be nominated. It's an honor just to be nominated."

FRESH FOCUS: What moxie the academy voters showed in the comedy category! "Family Guy"? "Flight of the Conchords"? Inspired! One question, though. "Entourage" again? Really?

EVERYONE'S A CRITIC: So what does "Top Chef" host Tom Colicchio think about the inclusion of "Family Guy" in the comedy category? "Yeah, let's not talk about that. I'm more of a fan of 'South Park.' "

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