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Seinfeld Gets His Comedy Back On, On NBC

Jerry Seinfeld
CNBC.com
Jerry Seinfeld

Other than "Bee Movie," Jerry Seinfeld's 2007 DreamWorks Animation movie, he's been retired from Hollywood since his epic run on "Seinfeld" ended in 1998. Now NBC has lured the comedian back to its airwaves, hoping to hit the jackpot once again. Considering that NBC struggled to find a new primetime hit this past season, this could be key to defining and revving up its next lineup (I'd assume it would premiere fall 2009 though the network says nothing has been decided yet).

It's a "comedy-reality series" called "The Marriage Ref", which means Seinfeld and other opinionated celebs and comedians will comment on couples real-life disputes, and weigh in with snarky opinions. NBC is hoping it's assembled a dream team — Seinfeld's production company is partnering with a 23-year veteran producer from "The Oprah Winfrey Show," who I suppose will offer the expertise on how to deal with touchy real-life situations?

NBC Entertainment co-chair Ben Silverman, brought in a few years ago to spice up NBC's offerings, is presenting this as a next-generation comedy. While "Seinfeld" was a riff on the actor's single days, this will address his married life, building on his stand-up comedy on the topic.

Reality TV barely existed back when "Seinfeld" was having its run on NBC. I suppose it's only fitting that in era dominated by the likes of "The Real Housewives of" fill in the blank city, that Seinfeld would have to incorporate the new reality of the reality TV world into his show. The original "Seinfeld" succeed in part because of the familiarity its characters and the continuity of their relationships. It seems that the challenge of this new reality show is to create that same kind of investment in the characters and relationships, even if the couples are swapped out every episode.

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