Seinfeld is laughing all the way to the bank: TV show generates $3.1bn in repeat fees since final episode
Ending Seinfeld at its peak has proved the most lucrative decision comic Jerry Seinfeld ever made.
The sitcom has generated $3.1billion (£2.05 billion) in repeat fees since the final episode was screened 15 years ago.
The comedy “about nothing” was a huge hit for the NBC network, running for nine years from 1989.
Since then the 180 episodes have continued to generate huge revenues through syndication deals for repeat showings on local US television channels.
Negotiations for a fifth round of syndication deals have now pushed total earnings through the $3 billion barrier, earning co-creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David up to $400 million (£265 million) each, according to industry estimates.
The duo enjoy profit-sharing deals with Warner Brothers, which owns the rights to the show.
Co-stars Jason Alexander, Michael Richards and Julia Louis-Dreyfus missed out on syndication rights. But they do earn a portion of the revenues from sales of Seinfeld DVDs, a demand they held out for in contract negotiations for the series’ ninth and final season.
Seinfeld’s continuing syndication popularity has made its creators reluctant to sell episodes direct for download from Apple’s iTunes.
Each half-hour episode has earned more than $17 million so far. The figure would be higher with the addition of income from DVDs, international sales and commercial airlines in-flight entertainment, where episodes have become a fixture.
Syndicated episodes aren’t always screened exactly as viewers might remember them. The US cable station TBS cropped the frame, cut out lines of dialogue and re-edited scenes of Jerry Seinfeld’s nightclub stand-up routine when it showed episodes in HD.
Seinfeld, which was initially turned down by Fox and took time to build an audience, has outperformed some major media brands.
Electronic Arts, the video games company, has earned a total of $2bn (£1.3 bn) in net income over the same 15-year period.
Jerry Seinfeld turned down a $5 million an episode offer to continue the show, which topped the ratings in its final season. The finale, broadcast in May 1998, was watched by 76 million US viewers.
The Simpsons, which also premiered in 1989 and has now broadcast more than 500 episodes, is tipped to become the most lucrative syndicated television series ever when it finally ceases production.
filmIn Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: What we know about JJ Abrams' film
Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'