Here are some things you should know as tonight’s award show gets underway:

*Most Emmys won by series in first season: The West Wing, 2000: 9
*Most Emmys won by series in single season: The West Wing, 2000: 9
*Most Emmys won by miniseries: John Adams (2008): 13
*Most emmys won by TV movie: Eleanor and Frankin: (1976): 11
*Most Emmy noms for a program: Saturday Night Live: 156 (new record set in 2012)


*Most nominated comedy series: Modern Family: 14 noms.
*Most nominated drama series: Mad Men: 17 noms
*Most nominated miniseries: American Horror Story: 17
*Most nominated TV movie: Hemmingway & Gelhorn: 15 noms
*Most nominated variety program: SNL: 14 noms
*Most nominated reality program: The Amazing Race/Dancing with the Stars: 7 noms

Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Ariel Winter and Sarah Hyland in a scene from "Modern Family." (Peter Stone/AP)

MAD MEN has 9 nominations tonight:
Best drama series
Best actor (Jon Hamm)
Best actress (Elisabeth Moss)
Best supporting actor (Jared Harris)
Best supporting actress (Christina Hendricks)
3 Best writing nominations
Best directing

The other eight nominations it received, when the nominations were announced in July, were in competitions, results of which were announced last weekend. “Mad Men” scored no Emmy wins last weekend. This means the most Emmys “Mad Men” can achieve this year is 7, since it has three noms in the best-writing derby. It will not break “The West Wing’s” record of 9 wins in a single year.

GAME OF THRONES is no threat to “West Wing’s” record either.
Though “GoT” is already ahead of the game, having won 6 Emmys last weekend and one night of competition yet to go (compared to its total of 2 wins at last year’s Emmy competition), the HBO sex-and-swords drama is only eligible for 2 Emmys tonight. It’s in the running for best drama series, and just one of its supporting actors is in the running in that category – last year’s winner Peter Dinklage. But none of “GoT’s” lead actors, writers or directors got nominated this year. Which means “GoT” can’t achieve “West Wing’s” record 9 wins in a year.

On the other hand, there’s DOWNTON ABBEY. “Downton” is one of two programs to receive the second-most nominations this year with 16 (tied with “Hatfields & McCoys). And the TV academy decided this year that “Downton” should compete as a drama series, after it competed last year as a miniseries.

Nine of “Downton’s” nominations will be determined Sunday night:
Best drama series
Best lead actor drama series (Hugh Bonneville)
Best lead actress drama series (Michelle Dockery)
2 Best supporting actor noms (Brendan Coyle, Jim Carter)
2 Best supporting actress noms (Maggie Smith, Joanna Froggatt)
Best writing drama series
Best directing drama series

“Downton’s” 7 other nominations were determined last weekend. “Downton” walked off with 2.  Should “Downton” wins every single category in which it’s competing tonight, it would tie “The West Wing” for most Emmys won by a series in a single year – a record “West Wing” set in 2000 for its first season on NBC.

View Photo Gallery: A look at the 2011 Emmy nominations, with commentary from TV Column writer Lisa de Moraes.

In the equally hot race for best miniseries this year:

AMERICAN HORROR STORY has five nominations tonight:
Best miniseries
Best lead actress in a miniseries (Connie Britton)
2 Best supporting actress in a miniseries (Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange)
Best supporting actor in a miniseries (Denis O’Hare)

The 12 other categories in which it was nominated were determined at last weekend’s so-called Creative Arts portion of the Emmys. Of those 12 nominations, “AHS” took home one Emmy. If AHS wins every competition in which it is nominated tonight, it could wakl off with 5 Emmys at most this year (since Conroy and Lange are competing in the same derby tonight).

Which means “American Horror Story,” whose producers decided to compete it as a miniseries at the Emmys, instead of as a drama series, as it had done in early competitions such as the Golden Globes, cannot challenge HBO’s “John Adams” which, in 2008, achieved a record 13 wins.

The other program that pulled in 16 Emmy nominations this year: History’s HATFIELDS & McCOYS.

“H&McC” has 7 Emmy noms it’s hoping to turn into wins Sunday night:
Best miniseries
2 Best lead actor noms (Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton)
Best supporting actress (Mare Winningham)
Best supporting actor (Tom Berenger)
Best writing
Best directing

Its other 9 were determined last weekend: it took home 3 Emmys that night. The most Emmys it can achieve is 9 – no challenge to “John Adams.”


*Will “Mad Men” win its fifth Emmy for best drama series, setting a new record, beating “The West Wing,” “LA Law,” and “Hill Street Blues,” which are tied with four apiece.

“Game of Thrones” is also nominated in this category, and it’s got a lot of momentum heading into Sunday night, having clocked a pack-leading 6 Emmys last weekend during the so-called Creative Arts night of the two-night Emmy ceremony — for best makeup, costume, art direction, special visual effects, sound mixing and sound editing.

But “Downton Abbey” is considered heavy competition too – the TV academy compelled it to move into the drama series derbies this year after mopping up in the miniseries competitions last year.

Showtime’s “Homeland” is a first time competitor too, and is a darling of the media, though that doesn’t always translate to “darling of the TV academy.”

*Can “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, competing for the first time for best variety show, end “The Daily Show’s” nine year stranglehold on that derby? Kimmel, who’s hosting the Emmys for the first time tonight, submitted his post-Oscar broadcasting, which featured Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Coldplay, etc.

Stewart, meanwhile, submitted an episode of “The Daily Show” that featured U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Kimmel’s  got a lot to prove tonight.

Last time it was ABC’s turn to broadcast the Emmy Awards – the four major English-language broadcast networks take turns – ABC did not insist on Kimmel to host, which would have saved the TV academy a lot of embarrassment. That was the year the academy decided the Emmy ceremony should be emceed by a panel of reality-series hosts, who then cleverly decided to toss out their prepared opening material, which was no doubt lame but at least trophy-show lame, and instead wing it –  because that’s what they do so well when they are hosting their respective reality series, they reasoned.

The result was historic in its badness – placing a close second only to the James Falco/Ann Hathaway Oscar hosting debacle.

Putting more pressure on Kimmel, ABC recently announced it’s turning over its 11:30 p.m.-ish timeslot to him in January – swapping “JKL!” and “Nightline.” This means Kimmel will be swimming with the big fish – David Letterman and Jay Leno – in the timeslot. And tonight’s Emmycast is his one big chance to introduce himself to millions of people who do not watch his late night show and convince them to check it out when it moves to its earlier timeslot.


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