January 21, 1998 in Food

No Series Spinoffs For Cast Of ‘Seinfeld’

Ed Bark The Dallas Morning News

No “Seinfeld” spinoffs.

NBC entertainment president Warren Littlefield said Saturday that the network has ceased efforts to give the blockbuster series an afterlife, as it did with “Frasier” when “Cheers” ended.

NBC had hoped to ease the pain of losing “Seinfeld” after this season by continuing the comic mishaps of Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and George Costanza (Jason Alexander). In 1993, when “Cheers” left NBC, the network immediately spun Kelsey Grammer’s character, Frasier Crane, into a hit series that continues to pay dividends. “Frasier” was launched in a cushy Thursday night time period following “Seinfeld” before NBC successfully moved Grammer’s show to Tuesdays the following fall. Now “Frasier” is a strong candidate to inherit Seinfeld’s pivotal 9 p.m. time slot on Thursdays next season.

The principal stumbling block in “Seinfeld” spinoff talks apparently was Jerry Seinfeld, who co-created the show and owns a part of it in partnership with Castle Rock Entertainment.

Following a “number of conversations” with Castle Rock, “it looks doubtful that there would be anything else that comes out of this outstanding series,” Littlefield said after a news conference. “Nothing would happen without Jerry’s approval. That’s not a legal opinion and I can’t speak for Jerry. But it seems as though the talent feels this has been sensational and it’s time to move on.”

Seinfeld surprised NBC by announcing during the Christmas season that he would end the series in May after an eight-year run. The network reportedly offered him $5 million an episode to continue with the series, but he said he wanted to go out at the top of his game and near the top of the Nielsen ratings. “Seinfeld” currently is prime time’s No. 2-rated series behind “ER,” which NBC renewed last week at a cost of $13 million per episode.

Littlefield said “Seinfeld” will be a significant loss, but contended that NBC has numerous first-rate replacements in waiting, including “Frasier,” “Friends,” “3rd Rock From the Sun” and possibly “Mad About You.”

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