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Seinfeld on Leno: The right idea at the wrong time - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 10th 2010 10:02PM
Jerry Seinfeld at the Winter 2010 TCAsNBC served up some good panels today, and the last one was a doozy: Jerry Seinfeld, who along with host Tom Papa and executive producer Ellen Rakieten was there to promote the new series The Marriage Ref. More on that later. Halfway into the session, a reporter asked Jerry a question on Leno's show getting pulled from the 10 PM slot.

"It was all my fault because I wore the tuxedo (on Jay's first show)," he joked. But then he got serious and actually had a bit of praise for NBC. He equated the move to bring Jay to 10 PM to the AOL/Time Warner deal, of all things. "It wasn't a terrible deal. The timing was bad. If you substitute 'Google' for 'AOL' now, you'd be in favor of the deal. (Leno at 10) is the right idea at the wrong time. I applaud NBC for trying something so original."

He was also asked if he feels bad for how Conan's being treated, and his response was interesting. "I don't think anyone's preventing people from watching Conan. Once they give you the cameras, it's on you." Essentially, Conan's got a show, it's his job to get people to watch. I don't think anyone's done anything to Conan. There's no rules in show business. There's no refs."

Speaking of refs, The Marriage Ref is an interesting idea: Couples are taped having one of their age-old arguments. A celebrity panel watches it from a studio and deliberates. Papa is the ref, and he makes the final decision on who wins. Then the couple is brought on via satellite and told the results.

It'll all be very sports-oriented, with Marv Albert doing the announcing, telestrator replays, and a "Play of the week" sort of segment. "We felt the sports simplicity is missing from marriage,": said Seinfeld. The idea came from an incident where Jerry had a friend mediate an argument he was having with his wife Jessica, and Mrs. Seinfeld encouraged Jerry to pursue the idea. Seinfeld feels it's a show that's pro-marriage, and of course, it'll be funny.

Some of the celebrity panelists: Larry David, Charles Barkley, Tina Fey, Eva Longoria Parker, and Alec Baldwin. Yes, you heard me on that last one. When asked about Alec, who's not exaclty known for being impartial when it comes to marriage, Seinfeld said. "Who said fighting was fair?"

The show has a sneak preview right after the Winter Olympics closing ceremonies on February 28. Then it settles into its Sunday at 8 ET slot on March 19.

In the reporter scrum, I asked Jerry if this show will bust through the trope that the wife is always right in a marriage. His response wasn't very illuminating, but it was funny:

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I'll give NBC props for trying something different. If they're smart, the folks at NBC will come right out and admit their mistake, saying, "hey we wanted to try something different. It didn't work out. Our bad. Let's move on". I would have more respect for them if they did that.

January 10 2010 at 11:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, he's really gunning for the Tonight show after Leno is gone, isn't he? That's what those comments sound like to me.

January 10 2010 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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