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Nominees celebrate at pre-Emmy parties
Nominees celebrate at pre-Emmy parties

UPDATE, 6.50am: Records could be set and hearts definitely will be broken at the Emmy Awards.

The ceremony gives Mad Men a chance to snare its fifth best drama award, surpassing fellow record holders Hill Street Blues, LA Law and The West Wing.

Breaking Bad and Homeland are among the series that could prove spoilers for Mad Men, a sophisticated saga about an advertising agency in 1960s America.

Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad has a shot at his fourth best drama actor victory, which would tie Dennis Franz's record set in 1999 for NYPD Blue.

If Cranston wins, that would leave Mad Men star Jon Hamm and Michael C Hall of Dexter out in the cold for the fifth time.

Jimmy Kimmel is host of the ceremony beginning at 9am on Monday, with awards in 26 categories to be presented at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

There's no question broadcast networks will be squirming: Five out of six best drama series slots were claimed by cable TV shows, with the sixth going to the Public Broadcasting Service's Downton Abbey.On the comedy side, HBO's Girls, Veep and Curb Your Enthusiasm made big inroads.For the elegantly soapy Downton Abbey, the question is whether a switch from the miniseries category to drama series competition will spell doom for the chances of Maggie Smith, a winner last year, and other cast members including Michelle Dockery.Girls, HBO's tough, 21st-century spin on Sex and the City, and its creator-star Lena Dunham could prove the evening's sweethearts. The show is up for four awards, including best comedy series.Its heavyweight competition includes Modern Family, which could claim its third consecutive best comedy series award.In the miniseries and TV movie category, crowd-pleaser Hatfields & McCoys is up against competitors including Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia and Game Change, a dramatisation of the John McCain-Sarah Palin 2008 campaign.But Emmys recognise TV's best, not most popular. While leading nominee Mad Men averaged just 2.6 million viewers last season, top-rated show American Idol (26 million-plus) isn't even in contention for best reality-competition program. At least host Ryan Seacrest is, but he faces the formidable Betty White (Betty White's Off Their Rockers).