Tina Fey, Jerry Seinfeld Front Emmy Icons 2013 Portfolio

9:00 AM PST 09/18/2013 by Stacey Wilson, Marisa Guthrie, Lacey Rose
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"Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston, "Mad Men's" Matthew Weiner, "Arrested Development's" Mitchell Hurwitz and more legends of television on how the award can save a series ("30 Rock"), give validation beyond ratings ("Seinfeld") and provoke anxiety. Says "ER" creator John Wells: "I forgot to thank George Clooney in my acceptance speech!"

THE KING OF COMEDY

Jerry Seinfeld (15 noms, 1 win)

If you -- like legions of Seinfeld fans -- are still holding out for a heartwarming reunion special, Seinfeld has disappointing news. "It's never going to happen," he says of reviving his iconic 1990s sitcom. That 2009 reunion arc on Seinfeld co-creator Larry David's HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm notwithstanding, Seinfeld is not much for stunts. And the comedy's status as a top-three series for its final five seasons provided the kind of freedom to push back.

"We'd get calls from NBC saying, 'We want to do a night where every sitcom deals with a blackout,' or whatever, and we'd say, 'Good luck! We have another story that we think is funnier. And, we care more about our audience." But the 59-year-old Brooklyn native does care about validation from his peers, which is why his 1993 Emmy win for best comedy series was so satisfying. "You want to win the championship," he admits.

PHOTOS: Emmys: Jerry Seinfeld on Why He May Never Go Back to TV (Q&A)

Two decades later, the still-touring comedian was back in the Emmy race this year, this time for his digital series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. He also has taken to Twitter to stay connected to his loyal following, but he claims not to read the popular Modern Seinfeld feed. Were there to be a contemporary version of the show, Seinfeld says its characters would still be "somewhat dysfunctional, [with] some kids, some divorces and unique social situations." He says he watches little on TV outside of Mad Men and baseball. And does he ever catch a ubiquitous Seinfeld rerun? "Nope," replies the father of three kids with his wife of 15 years, Jessica. "But my kids do."

Photographed by Andrew Hetherington on Sept. 4 at Jack Studios in New York City

Next … The Spring Chickens: William Shatner and Cloris Leachman

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