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Pact brings peace to the Seinfeld cast

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Stan The Caddy

PostPosted: March 1, 2004 07:31 AM 

Seinfeld DVDs are available for pre-order!!!

Seasons 1&2 and 3 will be released on DVD on Novembver 23, 2004.

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As published by The Globe & Mail:

Pact brings peace to the Seinfeld cast

Resolution of a bitter conflict over royalties clears the way for the release of a DVD collection

Special to The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 27, 2004 - Page R2

JERUSALEM -- Amultimillion-dollar dispute over royalties between Jerry Seinfeld and the three co-stars of his long-running television comedy series has finally been settled, allowing the release of an official DVD collection of the show's 180 episodes, plus newly filmed interviews and other material.

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.


Posts: 1

Reply: 1

PostPosted: March 2, 2004 11:26 AM 

I am super excited for the rest of the cast of Seinfeld, I am glad they finally reached a resolution for royalties. Very Happy I can't wait for the first season on DVD in December!

It's about time Razz

Hipster Dufus

Posts: 55

Reply: 2

PostPosted: March 3, 2004 12:25 PM 

YES!! The whole cast is on board!!! I'm really sorry to hear about the rift that has been created between jerry and the other 3. Looks like kramer, george and elaine(yeah, using their tv names) are gettting what they want now though.


Posts: 1

Reply: 3

PostPosted: March 3, 2004 02:21 PM 

how fast are they going to be released. i bet the price is going to be high. jerrys rippin all of us off. ill still buy it though.


Posts: 1

Reply: 4

PostPosted: March 4, 2004 07:01 PM 

I must say that I have to agree with the 3 other members that they should have been paid to do this from the beginning. It was stupid of the producers to think they would do it for "free" after never recieving royalties, aka back-end participation as they say. The show is one of the greatest ever on tv, but you must feel alittle bit angry that only 1 member of the show instead of all 4 main characters is recieving the final benefit from it.

Bob Sakamano

Posts: no

Reply: 5

PostPosted: March 5, 2004 12:36 AM 

When are they going to release the first season?

Bob Sakamano

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Reply: 6

PostPosted: March 5, 2004 08:40 PM 

theyre not going to release it by seasons it will probably be a one package 10 dvd set or soemthing, because not even the first 3 seasons would fill up 1 dvd.

Bob Sakamano

Posts: no

Reply: 7

PostPosted: March 7, 2004 12:36 PM 

I bet the whole series would take at least 20 DVD's, not counting extras...


Posts: 22

Reply: 8

PostPosted: March 7, 2004 02:54 PM 

I cant wait for it to come out. Stan, do you think it will be season by season or just all 9 seasons at once. When do you think it will be availabe to the public?

Bob Sakamano

Posts: no

Reply: 9

PostPosted: March 7, 2004 02:55 PM 

I cant wait for it to come out. Stan, do you think it will be season by season or just all 9 seasons at once. When do you think it will be availabe to the public?

Cockeyed Optimist

Posts: 526

Reply: 10

PostPosted: March 7, 2004 04:14 PM 

There is no way the 9 seasons will come out at once, it just doesn't work like that, just look at any other TV show released on DVD.

Bob Sakamano

Posts: no

Reply: 11

PostPosted: March 7, 2004 09:03 PM 

How much is the DVD series going to bring? I think it's peanuts compared to the amounts Jerry has and is still collecting from the show being syndicated all over the world.
Why do you think they agreed to pay them those huge salaries in the last season? Because they didn't want to give them a piece of the larger pie that was royalties. I bet royalties will still be coming in when Jerry's grandchildren will be having kids. Mark my words.


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Reply: 12

PostPosted: March 8, 2004 12:51 PM 

yeeeeeeeeah! giiiiiiiidyup!


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Reply: 13

PostPosted: March 11, 2004 02:15 AM 

I can't wait to surprise my husband for Christmas. I'm really glad I found this site as I was almost sucked in to buying the 'fake' set. Now I can wait for the real thing Smile

Bob Sakamano

Posts: no

Reply: 14

PostPosted: March 12, 2004 02:49 PM 

At 180 episodes with 6-8 shows per disc, that's 25-30 discs. Let's hope they don't do more than that many shos per disc, or they will have to lose picture quality in the compression (search for complaints about mad about you 2-disc 1st season).

But you know they are going to release it season by season, slowly, with lots of hype behind each one. This is the biggest show on TV!!


Posts: 1

Reply: 15

PostPosted: March 17, 2004 12:53 AM 

Very Happy
SWEET! No need for Jerry to be banking it all in. Cant wait to see Kramer...

Hipster Dufus

Posts: 55

Reply: 16

PostPosted: March 21, 2004 11:25 PM 

Some ppl arent sure when the DVD will be coming out. The DVD comes out in December of this year, I would guess before Christmas, cuz thats going to be my present. Laughing


Posts: 1

Reply: 17

PostPosted: March 22, 2004 11:36 PM 

YES IT IS ABOUT TIME. this is the greatest show on tv. It is kinda funny that jerry is getting all the money. He isn't even the funniest on the show. right?

Bob Sakamano

Posts: no

Reply: 18

PostPosted: March 24, 2004 03:04 AM 

Giddy up!

Bob Sakamano

Posts: no

Reply: 19

PostPosted: March 24, 2004 07:23 PM 

A billion dollars.....jeeeeeeeeeezzzz....... Shocked Shocked Shocked

Brilliant news to have the fab 4 working together on this....!

Gi'y up indeed...!!

The Soup Nazi

Posts: 1

Reply: 20

PostPosted: April 2, 2004 11:49 AM 

Evil or Very Mad I can't believe what Jerry has done. I really thought they all got along. Let's be honest, it might have been Jerry's name, but he was by no means the reason people watched the show! We watched because of the group. They all made the show what it is and I think that not giving them back-end money is very stupid. They all deserve more. Maybe if Jerry recieved less money he would be able to afford all those underage girls he loves so much.

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