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Tina Fey, Jerry Seinfeld Front Emmy Icons 2013 Portfolio

Page 7

THE CREATORS

From left: John Wells (25 noms, 6 wins), Christopher Lloyd (15 noms, 10 wins), Greg Daniels (21 noms, 5 wins), Marshall Herskovitz (9 noms, 4 wins) and Mitchell Hurwitz (6 noms, 3 wins)

Photographed by Austin Hargrave on Sept. 15 at Milk Studios in Hollywood

"I remember thinking, 'OK, I have the first line of my obituary,' " says Hurwitz, 50, of earning his first Emmys for comedy series and writing in 2004 for Arrested Development, which he recently revived for Netflix. He is one of five top show creators -- collectively they've earned 28 Emmys for 11 programs -- who gathered on a muggy September morning to reflect on the moment they earned their first statuette.

Their reactions, much like their résumés, are varied: Wells (ER, The West Wing, Shameless), 57, still kicks himself for not thanking ER star George Clooney when the medical drama picked up its first series win in 1996. Daniels (The Simpsons, King of the Hill, The Office), 50, simply was relieved to have won (in 1989, for writing on Saturday Night Live) as he had invited his then-girlfriend and now wife, Susanne, as his date ("I made a really good impression," he says).

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For Modern Family co-creator Lloyd, 53, his first win for Frasier in 1994 was more personal. "Publicly I was very excited to have won," he recalls, "but privately I was thinking my dad [David Lloyd] has two of these [for writing on Mary Tyler Moore], and I'm going to run him down eventually." Asked what they miss most about their early TV work, the show creators give answers ranging from "the writers" (Wells) to "the intensity" (thirtysomething's Herskovitz, 61) to "the energy of a live audience" (Lloyd).

To Hurwitz, who worked as a PA during Lloyd's stint on The Golden Girls, the business only has improved for writer-producers. "The economics have changed," he acknowledges, "but the more outlets, the more opportunities there are for creativity."

Next … Mr. Personalities: Hank Azaria