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No soup for elaine, Kramer, and George on Seinfeld DVD

No soup for elaine, Kramer, and George on Seinfeld DVD

 
Old 12-22-03, 11:47 PM
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No soup for elaine, Kramer, and George on Seinfeld DVD

[url]http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/23/arts/television/23SEIN.html?

The article speaks on how the 3 stars are bitter about money and wont participate in making of dvd

Last edited by g; 12-22-03 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 12-23-03, 12:07 AM
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Here is the text:

Three Stars of 'Seinfeld' Boycott a DVD Deal
By SHARON WAXMAN

Published: December 23, 2003


OS ANGELES, Dec. 22 Three of the four leading cast members of the hit television comedy "Seinfeld" are declining to participate in the making of a DVD series of the show because they are unhappy with the related financial deals they have had over the years, people close to the actors and the show said on Monday.

These people said that the three actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who played Elaine; Michael Richards, who played Kramer; and Jason Alexander, who played George made the joint decision not to give on-camera interviews for the DVD or otherwise participate in it.

Executives at Castle Rock Television, which produced the show for NBC, and Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, which will distribute the DVD, "were only willing to give a small recording fee to the three of them and not a piece of the action," said a representative for one of the actors, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "So they all said, `Why should we make other people richer?' "

Spokesmen for the three actors said they could not be reached for comment on Monday.

A spokeswoman for Jerry Seinfeld said he was disappointed that his three co-stars had decided to sit out the making of the DVD, which will feature extensive interviews with other cast members, writers and producers of the show.

"Jerry has enormous respect for Jason, Julia and Michael, and he had a great experience working with them on the show," said the spokeswoman, Elizabeth Clark. "He hopes they will participate in the DVD." Ms. Clark said Mr. Seinfeld hoped to talk to them after the New Year and persuade them to change their minds.

"Seinfeld," which ran from 1990 to 1998, remains one of the most successful comedy shows in television history and still plays in syndication across much of the country. The DVD of the show would seem destined to sell millions of copies.

The show continues to generate millions of dollars in revenue for its co-creators and executive producers, Mr. Seinfeld and Larry David, though the last original episode was broadcast five years ago. Mr. David did not return calls seeking comment.

The three boycotting actors earn residual payments from the show's reruns, a fee determined by the Screen Actors Guild. A representative for one of the actors estimated the fee at $100,000 a year.

Discontent over the sharing of the "Seinfeld" riches has arisen with Mr. Seinfeld's three co-stars before. In the last few years of the show the actors had sought to become part owners of the show, like Mr. Seinfeld.

They famously sought $1 million an episode for the last year of the show, 1998, in part because they said they thought they had been underpaid for many seasons. They ended up with about $600,000 a show, then a whopping sum for television.

A complicating factor is that "Seinfeld" is now owned by a handful of corporate entities. After the original "Seinfeld" deal was negotiated, Castle Rock Television was bought by Turner Broadcasting, which was bought by Time Warner. This means that Time Warner, Columbia TriStar Television, Castle Rock, Mr. Seinfeld and Mr. David will all take profits from the DVD.

Without the participation of three of the main cast members, the DVD will be significantly less interesting, executives close to the project acknowledged.

"It's never been just about the episodes; it's really about the value added," said Fritz Friedman, a senior vice president at Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. "That's what takes so much time. That's why so much is up in the air the concept, the taping, the schedules of people involved. Fans complain if we release bare-bones product. On something like `Seinfeld,' people won't be happy if we just put the episodes on there."

Castle Rock is working on the DVD of the first "Seinfeld" season, aiming to release it in December 2004. Plans call for the eventual release of all nine seasons.

Though taped in Hollywood, "Seinfeld," set in Manhattan, was a quintessentially New York show that contributed a succession of signature phrases and oddball story lines to American popular culture. Everything from Kramer's manic body language to "Yada, yada, yada" to "master of your domain" became fodder for water cooler chat.

Others participating in the making of the DVD expressed disappointment that resentment over money had become a legacy of the show.

Peter Mehlman, a former "Seinfeld" writer, said: "There are so few people who get that chance to be on a show that has that kind of impact. They were so brilliant. We had so much fun while we were doing it. It's kind of sad that they have bad feelings about it."
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Old 12-23-03, 12:26 AM
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While this is a bit disappointing, I'll just be happy to have the episodes. Any extras are just icing on the oh so delicious cake. Besides, how many people would actually watch the extras more than once?
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Old 12-23-03, 12:40 AM
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It could have been like having an extra episode if the extras were done right so I disagree. I cant see how people who have made such a large amount of money although not jerry seinfeild money could put this above their art.
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Old 12-23-03, 01:38 AM
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What a bunch of babies.... Won't matter to me even though I love the series I would never buy it... Free on TV all the time.
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Old 12-23-03, 01:41 AM
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I don't really understand why there's a big issue about this..

All FOUR were a part of the show. Granted, the three have tried sitcoms SINCE that have failed, but the show was about all FOUR characters. There was no "star" of the show. It was an ensemble cast. The dispersement of money should reflect this.

Having said that, FatTony's got the right idea. This is about almost as ridiculous as the assertion that the "commentaries" are the reason it takes SO...FRIGGIN...LONG for the Simpsons seasons to be released..

Last edited by Rogue588; 12-23-03 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 12-23-03, 02:33 AM
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Yes, nothing gets me more sympathetic than hearing multimillionaires bitching about being underpaid. Good riddance. The DVD extras can still be interesting without them. It worked for the Buffy sets when Sarah Michelle Gellar thought too highly of herself to be involved.
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Old 12-23-03, 04:44 AM
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Oh! Poor babies! They are getting a piece of the action? Why should they? They got paid for doing the show and were offered money for doing the DVD. Maybe their failed careers since Seinfeld are the real issue. They have each had television shows which bombed. So, naturally they think they are brilliant actors.
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Old 12-23-03, 06:30 AM
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All 4 actors entertained me for over 10 years. Not some executive that bought another company who owns the show. I'm the consumer, I think my money should be going to the people who have entertained, not the businessmen.

I think the actors are in the right. They deserve everything they can get. They learned something from the cast of friends, but maybe they learned it a tad too late.

With that out of the way, the first season was only 1 episode, so why December 2004?
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Old 12-23-03, 06:34 AM
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I guess getting residuals of $2000 a week for sitting on their butts has reduced them to the poverty level. Boy, these greedy buggers really know how to endear themselves to the public!
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Old 12-23-03, 07:13 AM
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Originally posted by d2cheer
What a bunch of babies.... Won't matter to me even though I love the series I would never buy it... Free on TV all the time.

I'll buy them in a heartbeat. My local WB channel and TBS play them daily, but it's always the same 30-40 episodes over and over.
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Old 12-23-03, 07:43 AM
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Originally posted by FatTony
Besides, how many people would actually watch the extras more than once?
Exactly.
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Old 12-23-03, 08:09 AM
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Fine with me. Just give me the episodes. I never gave a crap about extras anyway.
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Old 12-23-03, 08:14 AM
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I'd get the series without their participation. I'm sure many fans feel the same. Hopefully the powers-that-be will quickly just move on and not worry about the 3 whiners.

So, Julia can blow me. Jason and Michael can kiss my ass.

Bring on the show.
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Old 12-23-03, 08:28 AM
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I think that those 3 actors are right. They DO deserve a piece of the action. I don't understand the hostility directed towards them when they are the ones who acted in the show, and they are the ones who would be doing the interviews. Why people think that the corporate "suits" deserve a piece of the action but the principles deserve a flat-fee is beyond me.
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Old 12-23-03, 09:17 AM
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Would be nice to have them involved, but it's not essential. Extras on the Buffy sets have been very valuable and informative even though Sarah Michelle Gellar and Allyson Hannigan have not lifted a finger to contribute to them. Same could be true with the Seinfeld sets.
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Old 12-23-03, 09:26 AM
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I'll still buy the discs without any commentary. Just bring on the episodes already!
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Old 12-23-03, 09:42 AM
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Originally posted by sracer
I think that those 3 actors are right. They DO deserve a piece of the action. I don't understand the hostility directed towards them when they are the ones who acted in the show, and they are the ones who would be doing the interviews. Why people think that the corporate "suits" deserve a piece of the action but the principles deserve a flat-fee is beyond me.
I agree with you. They made the show successful and deserve to be compensated. The fact that they already make a nice sum in ours eyes doesn't negate the fact that they deserve more considering the ton of money already made by the corporate owners of the show.

We already know the suits couldn't care less about the fans and what they really want in the final dvd product, so they probably won't budge.

Hopefully Jerry cares enough about the fans and will be willing to share some of his take to convince the trio to participate.
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Old 12-23-03, 09:52 AM
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They made a million bucks an episode the final year. Greed is not good.
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Old 12-23-03, 10:15 AM
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Sorry to go off topic.......but.....

"Extras on the Buffy sets have been very valuable and informative even though Sarah Michelle Gellar and Allyson Hannigan have not lifted a finger to contribute to them"

I don't know about you but I'm actually glad that Allyson didn't contribute. Have you ever seen her give an interview? She's a dolt! Talk about expecting one thing and seeing the complete opposite.

Rant over.
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Old 12-23-03, 10:19 AM
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Originally posted by vegasbaby
They made a million bucks an episode the final year. Greed is not good.
Actually the article states they only made 600k per episode. So can understand their frustration. (yes I am joking)

I hope they come around to working on the project. I would personally love to have a commentary where Julia talks about how she came up with her "dancing" I think it would be hilarious.

I am with some of the other posters though, if they do not work on the project it won't be the end of the world. If I watch the extras on TV sets it is only once. The episodes are the primary thing I care about in the set.
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Old 12-23-03, 11:01 AM
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1. They didn't create the premise of the show

2 They didn't write or produce the show

3 NBC didn't approach them with opportunity to create the show

4 Their name isn't on the show.

I wonder if Jason Alexander earns billions of dollars in profit sharing with his KFC commercials, Or Juilia for those shampoo commercials from a few years ago....I kind of doubt it.

At least they earn a check everytime Cinemax shows "North"....
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Old 12-23-03, 11:06 AM
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"It's never been just about the episodes; it's really about the value added."
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Old 12-23-03, 11:17 AM
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The extras are what is going to make this a great set. Just the episodes you only want? You have the episodes running 4 times a day every day. Jerry's commentary was pretty good on COMEDIAN. And he seems really involved with the set, so I know it'll be great. This being one of my favorite shows, I hope the actors don't cheap out and not participate, because it won't be the same w/o them. But if not, Jerry's still there.
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Old 12-23-03, 11:18 AM
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Extras on the Buffy sets have been very valuable and informative even though Sarah Michelle Gellar and Allyson Hannigan have not lifted a finger to contribute to them.
Not to change the subject, but Alyson Hannigan did contribute to the extras on Buffy Season 6. Gellar is still a no-show though(even on the outtakes).
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