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Jeff Zucker talks about NBC, web content, and why Seinfeld wouldn't survive today

by Bob Sassone, posted May 29th 2009 7:02PM
When I first saw this I thought to myself, Jeff, a show like Seinfeld actually would survive if you stuck with it and didn't cancel it, just like NBC did back then. You don't have to cancel shows even today just because they don't get great ratings after two episodes.

This is a clip of NBC boss Jeff Zucker being interviewed at the All Things D conference. He talks about Hulu, iTunes, NBC's woes, and how the industry has changed over the years. (This is highlights from the interview - full report here.)

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Will

"Seinfeld" is one of those shows about which people are never willing to tell the truth. Yes, it was absolutely brilliant for its first SIX seasons on the air; after that, however, it went totally down the drain, with only one or two episodes along the way ("Soup Nazi," for instance) of any note. And don't even get me started on how GOD AWFUL the last episode was, without a doubt one of THE worst finishes in television history. But of course we're all supposed to worship "Seinfeld" as one of "the greatest sitcoms ever" and just ignore the fact that it completely imploded before it went off the air.

June 02 2009 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mel

Seinfeld isn't that great of a show. I got into it from maybe season 3 thru 6. The beginning episodes are horrible, completely not funny at all. Back then NBC had more confidence in their shows and allowed it to remain on the air despite not so great ratings. It didn't take off until later, so they got lucky. The last 3 seasons are also terrible and not funny. I guess that's why the actors from the show suffered the "Seinfeld curse" after those 3 crappy seasons.

June 01 2009 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mel's comment
LC

I'm also guessing that they had more confidence in their shows back then because they could afford to. The big 3 networks as well as Fox was drawing in the lions share of the viewing audience. Today they have a lot more competition from cable television series, particularly cheap to make reality programming.

June 02 2009 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Riley Freeman

@LC


i am well aware of seinfeld not being successful the first few seasons thank you.

But if they can stick with joey as long as they did they can stick it out with seinfeld

May 31 2009 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Riley Freeman's comment
LC

If Joey aired today, with NBC in the ratings toilet as well as the current economy, it wouldn't last more than one season tops. The only reason it lasted as long as it did was that it was a spinoff of one of their most popular shows. Had it made the lineup back then and Friends had never existed, I doubt it would have made it past the midpoint of season one.

June 01 2009 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alicia R.

"People can't DVR it." I think what he meant to say was, "I really hope people don't DVR it."

Just listen to this shumck, and you understand why NBC is in the possition that it is.

May 30 2009 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
richard fusilier

Seinfeld is as used up as "Mash" or Charlie Chaplin's aping.
Lets get something new!

May 30 2009 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Riley Freeman

pointless

May 30 2009 at 5:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Riley Freeman

@ Andrew

I really suggest u get out more. Sometimes people exaggerate

EVer heard the term " im so hungry i can eat a horse" ?

please next time u decide to respond to a comment. U ask people that go outside and interact with the general population before you try to be a smartass

May 30 2009 at 1:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Riley Freeman's comment
Monkeydog

I guess you should never be held accountable for what you say.

Jeff Zucker would probably be looked at as a genius if he could only be like you.

May 30 2009 at 5:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DarthPaul

Do you think anyone ever gets halfway through a horse & thinks "I've had enough"

May 30 2009 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Man

I said it here before it is not the quality of TV shows but the short attention span of the audience and execs who run scared listening to internet fans.

May 29 2009 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RobynM

Oh, man - where to begin.

YouTube was built on the back of Lazy Sunday? Really? Got news for him.

Seinfeld wouldn't make it today? Almost didn't make it then, either - got saved by someone who decided to give it a second chance instead of cancelling after a half-dozen eps.

No market for repeats? Psh. There are plenty of shows that've been revived or had their run lengthened due to the success of reruns.

Okay, so you're a cable conglomerate - start making better use of it. Run Chuck on Sci Fi to increase the viewer base, move Life to USA instead of cancelling it outright, etc.

They wanted a cut of Apple hardware as a condition of allowing their shows on iTunes? If I were Jobs, I'd have told them to take a flying leap too.

On the one hand, he says the nets need to catch up with technology, on the other he says he wants to keep Hulu an online experience (apparently, it doesn't play well with Boxee). Something doesn't scan between those two concepts.

Zucker talks a lot, but doesn't say much, and half of that is clueless.

May 29 2009 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Riley Freeman

i dont even have to watch this and i know this guy is an idiot. the greatest show on tv ever would not survive today? the show that still gets great ratings in reruns. i own the dvds and i still watch it on tv.


this guy should be executed for that stupid remark.

May 29 2009 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Riley Freeman's comment
Andrew

Right, we should just execute anyone who doesn't agree with you.

May 30 2009 at 12:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LC

"i dont even have to watch this and i know this guy is an idiot. the greatest show on tv ever would not survive today?"

Maybe you should have watched it before posting. He clearly says that the show was languishing for the first few years before it became a hit. Today, shows get canceled before they get a chance to get a strong following.

If Seinfeld were to air for the first time today, with similar low ratings, on 4th place NBC, it would be canceled by mid season.

May 31 2009 at 7:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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