"Mad Men" and "John Adams" go for Emmy record books

Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:00am EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two period dramas set roughly 200 years apart in American history -- "Mad Men" and and "John Adams" -- will make a run for the Emmy record books as U.S. television's highest honors are handed out on Sunday.

"Mad Men," the critically acclaimed new AMC series set in New York's advertising industry at the cusp of the 1960s social revolution, is heavily favored to become the first show from a cable network other than HBO to win the Emmy for best drama.

Meanwhile, HBO's seven-part story of the nation's second president, "John Adams," is likely to tie or surpass the record for most wins by a miniseries, 11, set in 2004 by HBO's adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Angels in America."

Emmy voters already have made some history by bestowing a record 17 nominations on NBC's self-parody of network TV, "30 Rock," the most for a comedy series in single year.

And they are widely expected to repeat history by crowning "30 Rock" TV's best comedy for a second straight year.

Showbiz awards pundit Tom O'Neil, whose online poll of TV critics and Emmy watchers forecasts winners, said "30 Rock" has proven "irresistible" to members of the Academy of Television of Arts and Sciences because "it's just a brilliant sendup of their own business."

The difference this year, O'Neil said, is that "30 Rock" may bring its two stars, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, along for the ride. Baldwin is regarded a virtual shoo-in as best comedy actor for his role as a venal, egotistical network executive.

But Fey, who created, produces and stars in the series as a harried TV show-runner, faces stiff competition from Christina Applegate, the young amnesiac on ABC's new sitcom "Samantha Who?," and from last year's winner, America Ferrera, the plucky heroine of another ABC show, "Ugly Betty."   Continued...

<p>Actor Jon Hamm, star of the AMc drama series "Mad Men" and nominee for oustanding lead actor in a drama series, poses at the Academy of Television Arts &amp; Sciences Primetime Emmy Awards Nominees for Outstanding Performance reception in Los Angeles, California September 19, 2008. The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented in Los Angeles September 21. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>