Seinfeld was perhaps the last real pop culture phenomenon to come off television in the 20th century, and to hear some people say it, there has never been one like it since (most, if not all, of the contenders were cable shows rather than those on broadcast networks). And unlike other groundbreaking sitcoms I might name, Seinfeld is somewhat remarkable for putting everything on hold before the show gets a lot worse than it was during its classic period – but not for lack of trying from the bosses of Jerry Seinfeld on NBC.
In 1998, NBC executives offered Jerry Seinfeld $ 5 million per episode and guaranteed him 22 episodes. It would be $ 110 million to make a tenth and final season. The thought behind the offer was that since Seinfeld was such a popular and beloved cowboy – er, sitcom – that a $ 100 million payment to the star alone was worth it and such a massive offer would surely be accepted by Seinfeld. Here’s one of those executives, Warren Littlefield, who gave an interview to Fox News years after the situation:
“We didn’t mess around. What we put on the table was unknown. We went with a huge sum and there was a huge confidence that no one could walk away … (Seinfeld) came along. see me and said, ‘I have no life, I am not married, I have no children. We gave him everything we had, he was tempted, but at in the end it was a quality of life decision. “
Unlike his fictional counterpart, it looks like Jerry Seinfeld was finally ready to settle down, so we haven’t had a final season of his adventures and those of his three equally dysfunctional friends. Now, however, with nearly 20 years in retrospect, it’s hard to feel too sad about Jerry’s decision, given the poor quality of the show’s last two seasons, according to fan consensus (I really love those last few episodes, personally, but even I admit it was probably good that they quit when they did).
Of course, it’s easy to have artistic integrity or quality of life when you’re already rich, and Seinfeld had certainly become very wealthy after nine seasons of the show. He was making a million bucks per episode last season, but it was just about eating peas with a fork versus where the real money was being made: syndication. The show’s lucrative replay packages (even today, it’s hard to go more than an hour or two without an episode of Seinfeld broadcast somewhere on TV) have raised around $ 3 billion since 1995, of which around $ 400 million has gone to the man himself (roughly half of his total net worth). So what was another hundred million when your life was on the line? Maybe if NBC had given him a wife and kids, we’d always watch new episodes of Seinfeld today.