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