R.I.P. Jerry’s Seinfeld’s Influence

Al Berman, Allison Gollust, Angela Bromstad, Ari Emanuel, Barry Diller, Ben Silverman, Brian Roberts, CBS, Chuck Martin, Comcast, Conan O'Brien, Cory Shields, Dawn Ostroff, Deadline Hollywood, Dick Ebersol, Dick Wolf, Ellen Rakieten, GE shareholder, henriette Mantel, Jamie Farr, Jay Leno, Jay Leno ratings, Jeff Cesario, Jeff Gaspin, Jeff Weiner, Jeff Zucker, Jeffrey Immelt, Jennifer O'Connell, Jerry Seinfeld, Jill Kennedy, Jimmy Fallon, John Eck, John Ferriter, John s. Dorsey, John Wallace, Khan Manka, Lindsey Vonn, Lynn Calpeter, Manka Bros., Marc Chini, Marc Graboff, Mark Hoffman, Michael Bass, Michael Pilot, NBC Olympic Coverage, Nick Emmerson, Nikki Finke, OnMedea, Paul Telegdy, Paula Madison, Peter Smith, Phyllis Diller, Richard Cotton, Ron Meyer, Salil Mehta, Sharon Waxman, Steve Capus, Terry Semel, The CW, The Marriage Ref, thewrap.com, Todd Broder, Tom PapaIt’s the end of an era.  When “Seinfeld” went off the air in 1998 (!!) there was no bigger star in television who wielded more influence than Jerry Seinfeld.  Senior creative executives from every major studio were falling all over themselves to get the next Seinfeld project.

But… Jerry decided to take his $100 million (give or take a few million) and went off to enjoy his life.  He did the occasional stand-up event at Caesar’s Palace; the occasional guest spot on a TV series or talk show to give his friends a spike in their ratings; voiced a cartoon bee, etc.

Up until last week, everyone just assumed that Jerry Seinfeld was still as big as he ever was.

Al Berman, Allison Gollust, Angela Bromstad, Ari Emanuel, Barry Diller, Ben Silverman, Brian Roberts, CBS, Chuck Martin, Comcast, Conan O'Brien, Cory Shields, Dawn Ostroff, Deadline Hollywood, Dick Ebersol, Dick Wolf, Ellen Rakieten, GE shareholder, henriette Mantel, Jamie Farr, Jay Leno, Jay Leno ratings, Jeff Cesario, Jeff Gaspin, Jeff Weiner, Jeff Zucker, Jeffrey Immelt, Jennifer O'Connell, Jerry Seinfeld, Jill Kennedy, Jimmy Fallon, John Eck, John Ferriter, John s. Dorsey, John Wallace, Khan Manka, Lindsey Vonn, Lynn Calpeter, Manka Bros., Marc Chini, Marc Graboff, Mark Hoffman, Michael Bass, Michael Pilot, NBC Olympic Coverage, Nick Emmerson, Nikki Finke, OnMedea, Paul Telegdy, Paula Madison, Peter Smith, Phyllis Diller, Richard Cotton, Ron Meyer, Salil Mehta, Sharon Waxman, Steve Capus, Terry Semel, The CW, The Marriage Ref, thewrap.com, Todd Broder, Tom PapaThen something strange happened this week:  Jerry Seinfeld became irrelevant.

After spending millions of dollars for promotional time during the Vancouver Olympics for Jerry Seinfeld’s “The Marriage Ref”, NBC was expecting a really big number.

They even cut the Closing Ceremonies short (to most of the country’s shock and anger) just to show the premiere of “The Marriage Ref”.  And, to be fair, they got a strong number (though, I suspect, with that lead in, NBC could have put on a rerun of “Silver Spoons” and it also would have gotten a big number).

Al Berman, Allison Gollust, Angela Bromstad, Ari Emanuel, Barry Diller, Ben Silverman, Brian Roberts, CBS, Chuck Martin, Comcast, Conan O'Brien, Cory Shields, Dawn Ostroff, Deadline Hollywood, Dick Ebersol, Dick Wolf, Ellen Rakieten, GE shareholder, henriette Mantel, Jamie Farr, Jay Leno, Jay Leno ratings, Jeff Cesario, Jeff Gaspin, Jeff Weiner, Jeff Zucker, Jeffrey Immelt, Jennifer O'Connell, Jerry Seinfeld, Jill Kennedy, Jimmy Fallon, John Eck, John Ferriter, John s. Dorsey, John Wallace, Khan Manka, Lindsey Vonn, Lynn Calpeter, Manka Bros., Marc Chini, Marc Graboff, Mark Hoffman, Michael Bass, Michael Pilot, NBC Olympic Coverage, Nick Emmerson, Nikki Finke, OnMedea, Paul Telegdy, Paula Madison, Peter Smith, Phyllis Diller, Richard Cotton, Ron Meyer, Salil Mehta, Sharon Waxman, Steve Capus, Terry Semel, The CW, The Marriage Ref, thewrap.com, Todd Broder, Tom PapaWith that in mind, last night “The Marriage Ref” settled into its Thursday night 10pm time slot and promptly lost half of its audience.  Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t terrible numbers like Melrose Place or The Beautiful Life on The CW or Severed Fingers on MBS, but not the numbers you want and expect if you have JERRY SEINFELD as your selling point.  You can get those kinds of numbers with Guy Fieri.

And if the ratings continue to fall, it’s will be increasingly hard for Jerry to recruit big name celebrities to be on the panel (and once you get down to the Phyllis Diller, Jamie Farr level – your show may be in trouble).

There was a time when Jerry Seinfeld could do anything he wanted.  But now, like, say, Lucille Ball in 1986, fewer studios will be returning his calls and signing over a blank check.

But, let me just say this… he absolutely killed on David Letterman the other night.  He’s still one of the great stand ups in history and proved that with one of the tightest six minutes you’ll ever see.  He’s just no longer the most important person in the room.

That spot is reserved for Ben Silverman.

[JEFF ZUCKER UPDATE: He still has a job – though no one seems to know why.

Accel Partners, Ben Silverman, Bob Iger, Chris Hughes, David Kirkpatrick, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Gerald Levin, Greylock Partners, HBO, Jeff Bewkes, Jeff Zucker, Jill Kennedy, Joanna Shields, Jon Miller, Khan Manka, Li Ka-shing, Manka Bros., Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg, Matt Cohler, MySpace, Nicolas Carlson, OnMedea, Owen Van Natta, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Rupert Murdoch, Sheryl Sandberg, Sumner Redstone, Toy Story 3Jill Kennedy – OnMedea

One comment

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