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View Full Version : Seinfeld has earned $2,700,000,000.00 since 1998


Quatermass
06-09-10, 11:14 AM
That's 2.7 Billion since it ended in 1998.

http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/einfeld_rakes_in_bil_RFu9jOStArywzQ8I5rSvAJ

$einfeld rakes in $2.7 bil
Startling details of earnings revealed

By DAVID K. LI

Last Updated: 10:45 AM, June 7, 2010
Posted: 12:21 AM, June 7, 2010

Forget law school. Send your kids to comedy camp if you want them to support you in your old age.

"Seinfeld" might be the show about nothing, but it's also made an incredible $2.7 billion -- with a "b" -- since it went off the air 12 years ago, according to Time Warner, which owns the series.

That makes "Seinfeld" the most profitable 30 minutes in TV history.

It is rare that TV studios reveal the amounts made by their most successful TV series, but at an investors' conference late last month, execs spilled the beans about just what a moneymaker the show has been over the past 12 years.

Jerry Seinfeld and co-creator Larry David have an undisclosed ownership stake in the show that has paid them in the hundreds of millions for the reruns of the show.

Details of the huge sums were buried in a report of the conference carried by the trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter. The main idea of the conference was for Time Warner to brag to potential investors how well the company is doing.

The numbers indicate that reruns on regular TV have grossed $2.3 billion since 1998.

Revenues from cable were about $380 million, execs reported.

"Seinfeld" made 180 episodes during its nine-year run -- which means that each half-hour episode has earned more than $14 million so far.

That does not include what the show -- or its stars -- made while the show was on NBC in its original run.

For years, Forbes magazine has been estimating that Jerry makes between $65-80 million a year from reruns of the show.

But the startling size of the show's total earnings was never known before.

But if any show deserved to make billions, say the experts, it was probably "Seinfeld."

"The thing about 'Seinfeld' is that it was well-written, well-acted and well-produced -- a triple threat," said Marc Berman, "Mr. Television" of Mediaweek.

"People related to the characters and it's just plain funny. This is a show that can last forever. It's like watching 'I Love Lucy,' it's still funny and you can keep laughing at it today."

But Jerry likely won't be master of this domain forever.

Pop culture professor Robert Thompson predicts "Seinfeld" will someday be toppled by "The Simpsons."

"When the end of world history comes, 'The Simpsons' will be the most-rerun show of all time and make the most money," said Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.

Apparently, other cast members from the show are not sharing in the billions.

Co-stars Jason Alexander, Michael Richards and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have a portion of the revenues from sales of "Seinfeld" DVDs -- something they held out for in contract negotiations for the series' final season. But not the show's syndication money.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/einfeld_rakes_in_bil_RFu9jOStArywzQ8I5rSvAJ#ixzz0qNC9CNGo

Deftones
06-09-10, 11:19 AM
that's surprising to me. i see Friends as a syndicated show that would likely garner better ratings and more ad revenue.

even crazier that the rest of the cast doesn't get any of that syndication money.

sauce07
06-09-10, 11:26 AM
If one thing was clear in the DVD special features, Jerry and Larry made that show, the rest of the cast were just actors.

resinrats
06-09-10, 12:22 PM
I'm surprised Simpsons hasn't beaten this. Haven't Simpsons been syndicated since 1998? Maybe they just haven't cost as much to air as Seinfeld. At least in my area, Simpsons has many more rerun time blocks than Seinfield ever did.

FatTony
06-09-10, 12:23 PM
Wait, so the other three don't get anything from the reruns? Isn't that against union rules or something? A guy I know gets a few hundred dollars every year because he was in a few episodes of Northern Exposure.

whoopdido
06-09-10, 01:16 PM
that's surprising to me. i see Friends as a syndicated show that would likely garner better ratings and more ad revenue.

even crazier that the rest of the cast doesn't get any of that syndication money.

I don't think Friends ever had the ratings Seinfeld did.

I don't know anybody that watches Friends reruns, but seems like everybody catches Seinfeld from time to time.

Fanboy
06-09-10, 01:44 PM
I'm surprised Simpsons hasn't beaten this. Haven't Simpsons been syndicated since 1998? Maybe they just haven't cost as much to air as Seinfeld. At least in my area, Simpsons has many more rerun time blocks than Seinfield ever did.

Same here in terms of rerun blocks. However, the article itself says "It is rare that TV studios reveal the amounts made by their most successful TV series", so maybe that's an announcement that either hasn't been made or hasn't been made yet.

I can't imagine The Simpsons wouldn't be number one. Seinfeld was hugely popular but only had 9 seasons to syndicate to the 21+ of The Simpsons.

majorjoe23
06-09-10, 01:50 PM
Wait, so the other three don't get anything from the reruns? Isn't that against union rules or something? A guy I know gets a few hundred dollars every year because he was in a few episodes of Northern Exposure.

They get residuals as performers, but I know those also go down over time. My guess is it's the creator/producer credits that have Seinfeld raking in the dough.

But this article made me realize I should drop out of law school and go to comedy camp! That's what the best comedians do, right?

God, I want to punch whoever wrote that lede.

Draven
06-09-10, 01:52 PM
I don't think Friends ever had the ratings Seinfeld did.

I don't know anybody that watches Friends reruns, but seems like everybody catches Seinfeld from time to time.

I'm the opposite. No interest in Seinfeld reruns but I'll always watch an episode of Friends.

notkevinbacon
06-09-10, 01:59 PM
I think The Simpsons are not factored in because the article seems to be only talking about the 12 years since Seinfeld went off the air.

JasonF
06-09-10, 02:22 PM
Is there any doubt that the genius mind that gave us "The Marriage Ref" is worth every penny of that $2.7 billion?

MrSmearkase
06-09-10, 02:35 PM
Haven't Simpsons been syndicated since 1998?

Longer than that, even. I think 1993 was when I noticed it starting to pop up.

foofighters7
06-09-10, 03:00 PM
Friends had its day, but it simply does not have the staying power that Seinfeld or The Simpsons has.

Although Friends has its fans, its quite a ways off from being anywhere near Seinfeld.

shaun3000
06-09-10, 03:28 PM
Friends was a chronological show, in that each episode built off the last. You have to watch the episodes in sequence to get all the jokes, follow the story, etc.

Seinfeld is a show about nothing, each episode is a stand-alone work. You can watch an episode from season 1, then an episode from season 8, and other than the changes in fashion, actors' ages, etc., it works just fine.

Hokeyboy
06-09-10, 03:28 PM
You won't catch Ben Stern watching and obsessing over reruns of "Friends". He does things in a proper manner.

bunkaroo
06-09-10, 03:35 PM
Friends was a chronological show, in that each episode built off the last. You have to watch the episodes in sequence to get all the jokes, follow the story, etc.

Seinfeld is a show about nothing, each episode is a stand-alone work. You can watch an episode from season 1, then an episode from season 8, and other than the changes in fashion, actors' ages, etc., it works just fine.

I agree with this, but seeing Seinfeld in order also had its payoffs. They would frequently call back to things in other episodes or seasons, which I loved. Like when George says "I once won a contest."

sauce07
06-09-10, 03:43 PM
You won't catch Ben Stern watching and obsessing over reruns of "Friends". He does things in a proper manner.

Proper Modulation

wd40cloud
06-09-10, 05:03 PM
Seinfeld would make more money than The Simpsons because they are syndicated on local networks, where as Seinfeld is currently on TBS, a national cable channel so the ratings (and ad revue) would obviously be bigger.

bluetoast
06-09-10, 05:10 PM
Seinfeld would make more money than The Simpsons because they are syndicated on local networks, where as Seinfeld is currently on TBS, a national cable channel so the ratings (and ad revue) would obviously be bigger.

Except that the article indicated that Seinfeld made way more on network TV than on cable.


The numbers indicate that reruns on regular TV have grossed $2.3 billion since 1998.

Revenues from cable were about $380 million, execs reported.

Deftones
06-09-10, 05:28 PM
I don't think Friends ever had the ratings Seinfeld did.

I don't know anybody that watches Friends reruns, but seems like everybody catches Seinfeld from time to time.

Quite the opposite. Friends routinely was over 22 million per season average, where as Seinfeld's last season was just barely under that.

TheBang
06-09-10, 06:50 PM
So, the $2.7B figure doesn't even include home video sales? That must be several hundred million more, at least, right?

Co-stars Jason Alexander, Michael Richards and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have a portion of the revenues from sales of "Seinfeld" DVDs -- something they held out for in contract negotiations for the series' final season.
That was rather prescient of (and fortunate for) them. Those negotiations would have been taking place in early 1997. DVD was just getting ready to launch, and the TV on DVD explosion was still another 4 or so years off.

Fist of Doom
06-09-10, 07:37 PM
Jason Alexander doesn't get any of the syndication money?

So that's why he's doing those Jenny Craig ads.

whoopdido
06-09-10, 08:25 PM
Quite the opposite. Friends routinely was over 22 million per season average, where as Seinfeld's last season was just barely under that.

Is that actually true?

I was never a Friends fan (honestly can't stand the show). I realize it was a very popular show back in the day but I had no idea it was more popular than Seinfeld. I always thought Seinfeld beat Friends every week.

Fist of Doom
06-09-10, 08:31 PM
Quite the opposite. Friends routinely was over 22 million per season average, where as Seinfeld's last season was just barely under that.

A quick look at wiki shows the average was less than that, but Friends still beat Seinfeld overall. Especially since Seinfeld's first 3 seasons didn't get good ratings at all.

Deftones
06-09-10, 08:53 PM
yeah, i was looking at a different site. friends still avg. over 22 million it looks like, but seinfeld was significantly lower because it wasn't highly rated at first.

whoopdido
06-09-10, 08:59 PM
Anybody know how Friends and Seinfeld compared when they were both at their peak?

I can't remember when Friends really hit its stride, but I know that Seinfeld was a ratings dog for the first couple seasons. It might not be fair to compare if Seinfeld hit its stride right when Friends first aired because Friends wouldn't have had the following yet. I just don't remember if Seinfeld and Friends were ever going balls to the wall at the same time.

GenPion
06-09-10, 09:55 PM
This is almost unbelievable. Larry David must own his own empire by now.

TheKing
06-09-10, 10:05 PM
Friends is far more dated than Seinfeld. It's really stuck in the mid to late 90s era it was made in, while Seinfeld is more universal and timeless. It's the I Love Lucy of this generation, a show that will probably still be airing somewhere 50 years from now (Well, assuming we still have a traditional television system in 2060).

Bill Needle
06-09-10, 10:40 PM
Here's my unscientific conclusion: My oldest daughter, who was too young during original airings but now would practically have been the target audience for Friends, has watched all of Seinfeld from our DVD sets and found it hilarious, and couldn't care less for Friends when she's seen it.

Dean Kousoulas
06-09-10, 10:43 PM
I always wonder why Larry David is always such an asshole on Curb. The man can wipe his ass with $100 bills and not care. ;)

whoopdido
06-09-10, 11:04 PM
Friends is far more dated than Seinfeld. It's really stuck in the mid to late 90s era it was made in, while Seinfeld is more universal and timeless. It's the I Love Lucy of this generation, a show that will probably still be airing somewhere 50 years from now (Well, assuming we still have a traditional television system in 2060).

I agree completely. To me Seinfeld doesn't seem dated at all, even the first couple episodes which originally aired over 20 years ago I believe. I've seen every episode and love them all, but don't necessarily remember everything about each episode, but I just don't remember Seinfeld having many pop references, which really helps it to be timeless. So many sitcoms in the 80's and 90's have that exact same 80's/90's feel to them, but Seinfeld simply doesn't have that feel. I think it's mainly because it's a show about nothing. They weren't trying to make points or have a real storyline or anything. The episodes were just random events and those random events could happen in any time period.

Double_Oh_7
06-09-10, 11:15 PM
Jerry should have to pay a lot of that back as punishment for The Marriage Ref.

Chaza
06-10-10, 12:33 AM
I always wonder why Larry David is always such an asshole on Curb. The man can wipe his ass with $100 bills and not care. ;)

I'm just glad that he does Curb when he really doesn't have to work another day ever, and hasn't for quite a while. The assholishness is just the cherry on top.

Tracer Bullet
06-10-10, 08:48 AM
I've actually started watching Seinfeld reruns again after a few years of having fallen out of the habit of watching the show, and it's as funny as it's always been. They've been showing the earliest episodes on the Fox affiliate here and it's weird to see how different the characters were in those early shows- much less cartoony and more personable, George in particular.

Friends I was never a fan of.

Raul3
06-10-10, 08:57 AM
I watched both Friends and Seinfeld when they originally aired, although I liked Friends the most.

Now, I'm only interested in Friends reruns. Yes, it's dated, but it's dated in the 90's, my favorite decade.

Quake1028
06-10-10, 09:24 AM
Anybody know how Friends and Seinfeld compared when they were both at their peak?

I can't remember when Friends really hit its stride, but I know that Seinfeld was a ratings dog for the first couple seasons. It might not be fair to compare if Seinfeld hit its stride right when Friends first aired because Friends wouldn't have had the following yet. I just don't remember if Seinfeld and Friends were ever going balls to the wall at the same time.

Here are the numbers for the years they were on together:

1994/1995
Seinfeld Season Six - 19,652,400 (#1)
Friends Season One - 17.9 (#8)

1995/1996
Seinfeld Season Seven - 20,330,800 (#2)
Friends Season Two - 18.7 (#3)

1996/1997
Seinfeld Season Eight - 19,885,000 (#2)
Friends Season Three - 15.7 (#4)

1997/1998
Seinfeld Season Nine - 21,266,000 (#1)
Freinds Season Four - 16.4 (#4)

So, Seinfeld owned the ratings battle while they were on in the same years. Overall however, Friends at it's best (24.5MM viewers and 23.5MM viewers) was above Seinfeld at it's best (21.2MM viewers and 20.3MM viewers).

In fact, the top four rated seasons of Friends were each higher than the top rated season of Seinfeld, in terms of viewers:

1.Friends Season 8 2001/2002 - 24.5MM
2.Friends Season 5 1998/1999 - 23.5MM
3.Friends Season 9 2002/2003 - 21.8MM
4.Friends Season 10 2003/2004 - 21.4MM
5.Seinfeld Season 9 1997/1998 - 21.2MM

Michael Corvin
06-10-10, 09:29 AM
Anybody know how Friends and Seinfeld compared when they were both at their peak?

I can't remember when Friends really hit its stride, but I know that Seinfeld was a ratings dog for the first couple seasons. It might not be fair to compare if Seinfeld hit its stride right when Friends first aired because Friends wouldn't have had the following yet. I just don't remember if Seinfeld and Friends were ever going balls to the wall at the same time.

Friends was a hit from day 1.

Seinfeld became a hit in season 4. IIRC, "The Contest" was the episode that changed it all for Seinfeld and when viewers started showing up in droves. Season 4 is also the year Seinfeld took the coveted 9:00 spot Cheers held for a decade, which was mid-season around the time "The Contest" aired.

*edit - oh and 2.7 BILLION since it has been OFF the air? :eek: Holy shit.

whoopdido
06-10-10, 10:33 AM
Here are the numbers for the years they were on together:

1994/1995
Seinfeld Season Six - 19,652,400 (#1)
Friends Season One - 17.9 (#8)

1995/1996
Seinfeld Season Seven - 20,330,800 (#2)
Friends Season Two - 18.7 (#3)

1996/1997
Seinfeld Season Eight - 19,885,000 (#2)
Friends Season Three - 15.7 (#4)

1997/1998
Seinfeld Season Nine - 21,266,000 (#1)
Freinds Season Four - 16.4 (#4)

So, Seinfeld owned the ratings battle while they were on in the same years. Overall however, Friends at it's best (24.5MM viewers and 23.5MM viewers) was above Seinfeld at it's best (21.2MM viewers and 20.3MM viewers).

In fact, the top four rated seasons of Friends were each higher than the top rated season of Seinfeld, in terms of viewers:

1.Friends Season 8 2001/2002 - 24.5MM
2.Friends Season 5 1998/1999 - 23.5MM
3.Friends Season 9 2002/2003 - 21.8MM
4.Friends Season 10 2003/2004 - 21.4MM
5.Seinfeld Season 9 1997/1998 - 21.2MM

Interesting. So Friends didn't start to do crazy (20 million plus) ratings until after Seinfeld ended. Did Friends move to Seinfeld's slot after it ended? I wonder if a certain percentage of Seinfeld viewers who never watched Friends only started watching after Seinfeld ended. Or did Friends just get better and more popular starting in season 5? Like I said, I never watched Friends so I just don't know.

Jimmy James
06-10-10, 04:55 PM
I enjoyed Friends best when I had a group of friends who would get together with me every Thursday and watch it. I think there was a lot of that going on. I don't think the show is dated as much as it never really was all that good on its own merits -- the phenomena of Friends and watching it with a group of your own friends really helped sell the series.

FatTony
06-10-10, 06:14 PM
I don't think the show is dated as much as it never really was all that good on its own merits

Bingo. Friends was basically a by-the-numbers sitcom (albeit one I enjoyed and own the full series on DVD). Seinfeld brought something new to the table.

harrydoyle
06-11-10, 11:28 AM
That is absolute insanity. I wonder how much of that has gone to David and Seinfeld, they must be raking in money.

whoopdido
06-11-10, 04:29 PM
That is absolute insanity. I wonder how much of that has gone to David and Seinfeld, they must be raking in money.

Heard on Howard Stern the other day that Jerry makes roughly $60-80 million per year from Seinfeld reruns. I would assume Larry makes about the same.

digidoh
06-12-10, 08:39 AM
Heard on Howard Stern the other day that Jerry makes roughly $60-80 million per year from Seinfeld reruns. I would assume Larry makes about the same.

This is why, in the first Star Trek movie, V'ger was looking for The Creator.

whoopdido
06-12-10, 10:54 AM
This is why, in the first Star Trek movie, V'ger was looking for The Creator.

And the $60-80 million doesn't include dvd sales. As was mentioned earlier, the rest of the cast gets a cut of that, but I'd wager Jerry and Larry get the lion's share of that too.

I've been looking for figures but don't know the best place to look. Anybody know how much Seinfeld has earned in dvd revenue? Just for argument's sake, say Jerry and Larry take 50% of that and the rest gets divided up between whoever (rest of the cast and whoever else might be involved), so just conservatively say that Jerry and Larry each get about 25% of dvd revenue. That has to be a staggering amount too.

Wazootyman
06-13-10, 12:54 PM
I think on top of the 60-80, I've always heard the figure that Jerry and Larry got $225 million up front when it first started in syndication. Money well earned at that.

benedict
06-14-10, 10:16 AM
Heard on Howard Stern the other day that Jerry makes roughly $60-80 million per year from Seinfeld reruns. I would assume Larry makes about the same.
I think on top of the 60-80, I've always heard the figure that Jerry and Larry got $225 million up front when it first started in syndication. Money well earned at that.The figure apparently quoted on Stern was also mentioned further up the thread.

While we're all speculating, I'd wonder aloud as to how much of the suggested $225M upfront payment would have been an advance against future earnings. In support of my suspicions of at least some element of double-counting, totting up all those figures across the past 12 years indicates that these two received pretty much the whole $2.3B - which seems unlikely.

Here is an article from way back when which shows what was publicised at the time of the original deal: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/293643.stm

<small><i>(TV & film economics always seem a bit crazy to me but, even so, could Warners accurately claim to have made $2.3B if they shared around 30% of the reported original $1.7B fee with Larry & Jerry and the balance accruing over later years went to those two guys alone?)

Fist of Doom
06-14-10, 11:16 AM
^Yup.

nightwing82
06-14-10, 11:21 AM
Did Friends move to Seinfeld's slot after it ended?

No, Friends was at 8pm on Thursdays for basically its entire run. Seinfeld was 9pm.

I am a big fan of both shows. I think Friends is slightly better, but I agree Seinfeld is easier to watch as a "one-off" whereas Friends builds upon itself each season.

Mabuse
06-14-10, 05:24 PM
I'm surprised by the show's success in syndication. I was a loyal Seinfeld viewer, but after the finale I never watched another episode "in whole" again. I tried watching a few syndicated episodes over the years and couldn't sit through them. I don't think the humor holds up to repeat viewings. I thought Cheers held up better.

Jimmy James
06-14-10, 08:49 PM
I'm surprised by the show's success in syndication. I was a loyal Seinfeld viewer, but after the finale I never watched another episode "in whole" again. I tried watching a few syndicated episodes over the years and couldn't sit through them. I don't think the humor holds up to repeat viewings. I thought Cheers held up better.

Talk about a painfully dated show, at least for me. I can't sit through Cheers. I compare it to MASH, and MASH seems to me to play much better in retrospect. Of course, MASH has two advantages with me:

1) It was already an out of time production, as it was about Korea
2) Unlike Cheers, where I saw at least the bulk of the series as it aired, I saw virtually none of MASH as a child

Oddly enough, I love re-watching Wings.

kstublen
06-14-10, 09:04 PM
I re-watch Seinfeld's complete run at least once a year on DVD, and catch a ton of random episodes in syndication.

whoopdido
06-14-10, 09:56 PM
I'm surprised by the show's success in syndication. I was a loyal Seinfeld viewer, but after the finale I never watched another episode "in whole" again. I tried watching a few syndicated episodes over the years and couldn't sit through them. I don't think the humor holds up to repeat viewings. I thought Cheers held up better.

To each his own but Seinfeld is the only show I watch reruns of. I guess I watch reruns of the first 3 seasons of The Office but even those are getting hard for me to watch.

Since there are probably about 50 episodes of Seinfeld on each week it's probably safe to say that on an average week I probably watch at least 3 episodes every week without even thinking about it. I just land on an episode and end up watching it. I'm sure I've seen every one a dozen times or more but it doesn't matter to me. I don't think I'll ever get sick of Seinfeld.

Quatermass
06-15-10, 11:17 AM
Off topic, but I end up watching "Frasier" in syndication more than Seinfeld or Cheers, although that could be because it's on 6 times a day. I think it holds up very well. It would be interesting to know how much that has made since it went off. I suspect they will revive the show someday as some sort of "Frasier 2.0" set in LA with a different cast of supporting characters.

RUSF18
06-15-10, 02:01 PM
That was rather prescient of (and fortunate for) them. Those negotiations would have been taking place in early 1997. DVD was just getting ready to launch, and the TV on DVD explosion was still another 4 or so years off.

Is that even accurate? I could swear I remember when the DVDs were in the process of coming out, there was a big story about how the rest of the cast was refusing to do any commentaries because they weren't seeing anything from the DVD sales.

whoopdido
06-15-10, 02:52 PM
Is that even accurate? I could swear I remember when the DVDs were in the process of coming out, there was a big story about how the rest of the cast was refusing to do any commentaries because they weren't seeing anything from the DVD sales.

Yeah I remember that too. I remember it being kind of a big deal that some kind of deal was figured out which got the rest of the cast to agree to be involved.

Double_Oh_7
06-15-10, 04:37 PM
Co-stars Jason Alexander, Michael Richards and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have a portion of the revenues from sales of "Seinfeld" DVDs -- something they held out for in contract negotiations for the series' final season. But not the show's syndication money.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/einfeld_rakes_in_bil_RFu9jOStArywzQ8I5rSvAJ#ixzz0qNC9CNGo

I don't think this is accurate. They refused to participate when the DVDs were being produced unless they got a cut, which would have been around 2003ish... long after negotiations for the final season.

Jimmy James
06-15-10, 05:59 PM
I don't think this is accurate. They refused to participate when the DVDs were being produced unless they got a cut, which would have been around 2003ish... long after negotiations for the final season.

It could be that their original agreement only covered the last season and the 2003 news (which I also remember) pertained to prior seasons.

Michael Corvin
06-15-10, 08:49 PM
I don't think this is accurate. They refused to participate when the DVDs were being produced unless they got a cut, which would have been around 2003ish... long after negotiations for the final season.

This.

They banded together ala the cast of Friends for better salaries the final couple of seasons, but it had nothing to do with DVDs at the time. As 007 mentioned they also stuck together for a cut of DVD sales. This was much later. Different events, similar circumstances.

benedict
06-16-10, 03:08 AM
It would be interesting to know how much that has made since it went off. I suspect they will revive the show someday as some sort of "Frasier 2.0" set in LA with a different cast of supporting characters.Frasier is still fairly regularly repeated on UK terrestrial television whereas Seinfeld never had much more than a desultory late night, time-shifting screening when it was "new" and only appears on UK satellite/cable channels as of now. I've no idea why there was no love for the show on the main terrestrial channels but much the same happened with the Larry Sanders Show.

Regarding a "Fraiser 2.0", I recall people associated with the Frasier show saying that something affecting the economics of the show was that they had to pay a royalty to the creators of Cheers. A further spin-off, might meaning having to pay two sets of royalties. This said, maybe a Frasier 2.0 with Grammer and the original creative team/owners could be do-able. Maybe Grammer's post-Frasier TV profile be more important these days than the success of that show.

Instead, perhaps Larry David could pitch for such a show over the course of a few eps of Curb Your Enthusiasm ;)

benedict
06-16-10, 03:46 AM
Here is an interesting article from 2004:In an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail, Jason Alexander (who played George Costanza on Seinfeld) said a deal "has very recently been worked out" after months of tension.

Describing the comedy star's behaviour over money as "inappropriate," Alexander said that he, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine) and Michael Richards (Kramer) had refused to provide extra material for the DVD collection because Seinfeld and Castle Rock Television, which produced the series for NBC, refused to pay them or offer a share in the royalties.

He said the Seinfeld producers have now agreed that the three co-stars will also earn royalties from the DVD collection.

"We are currently in negotiations so that we are participants in the DVD and that's a happy arrangement because we didn't really want to create this sort of negative impression of our experience," said Alexander, who has just ended a nine-month run in a theatre production of The Producers in Los Angeles.

Michael Richards broke ranks in December and agreed to work on the DVD.

"I innocently asked a question, 'Is there some compensation?' I don't believe there is," Richards told The New York Times.

A similar dispute nearly scuttled the last series of the nine-year-long show. The three co-stars have no share in the royalties, which have netted Seinfeld more than a billion dollars.

Alexander said the three co-stars decided to get tough during negotiations for the final series in 1997. They told NBC Entertainment chief Warren Littlefield that Jerry Seinfeld's decision to cut them out of the show's massive royalties had created an unacceptable gap between the actors.

They did manage to raise their fee for the final series to the same level as Seinfeld himself -- about $1-million an episode -- but Alexander said it was done with a heavy heart.

"We made a deal that was acceptable to us. We got paid very handsomely for our final season," he said. "It was in the pool of profit for NBC to give us those salaries.

"We weren't asking for something that wasn't there, but it was still inappropriate. It drove the cost of production of a TV show sky-high.

"I remember saying to Warren Littlefield: 'We're not kidding and we deserve this, but you're an idiot if you make this deal. It'll destroy television.' "

Alexander said the three co-stars would have greatly preferred "back-end participation" -- a share in royalties from future profits, rather than taking such huge salaries up-front.

"Julia, Michael and I, during our big renegotiation for the final year, asked for something that I will go to my grave saying we should have had, and that is back-end participation in the profits for the show.

"It was categorically denied to us, which forced us to then ask for ungodly salaries," he said.

"We make very little, standard Screen Actors Guild residuals for the reruns," he said.

"I'm not ashamed to talk numbers. I would say in the years that we've been in syndication, Julia, Michael and I have probably individually seen about a quarter of a million dollars out of residuals, whereas our brethren have seen hundreds of millions of dollars. Seinfeld has a profit of over a billion dollars."

"When the DVDs came up, we were being asked to provide new services," he said. "We had no problem with the DVDs being released, but then they said, 'We want you to perform new services. We want to do interviews and create additional footage and additional material.' Why would we do that? They said, 'Because of the legacy of the show.'

"Well, the character of George is not a millstone around my neck but I had to turn to my former bosses and say, 'I'm not invested in the longevity of the show. The longevity of the show actually is a detriment to me right now. It keeps me from getting certain kind of work. You have not made me a participant in the life of this show, therefore I am not inclined to give you these services.'

"It took a while for them to understand. Frankly, I think they were well prepared to proceed without our services until the audience said, 'Don't do that.'

"I said to Jerry when he made the decision years ago to not let us in, 'The day will come when you regret this decision, only because it's going to put us in a position eventually of seemingly tainting the wonderful impression of what this was for the four of us.

"You have created a rift between you and the three of us, and while we are in no way, shape or form looking for parity with you, you have created a chasm that is also inappropriate,' " Alexander recalled.I think thatthe original risktakers and creative people certainly deserve the lion's share, and that other cast members and writers are effectively workers for hire who knew what they were signing up for. But, after a while, where people become integral to the success of a particular project, there seems to be a case either for higher wages or a slice of the pie. I would certainly accept that, with their respective post-Seinfeld show activities, Jerry and Larry have certainly shown themselves to be the creative powerhouses.