Jerry Seinfeld Gets a New Couch

This week NBC announced that the network’s perennial cash cow, Jerry Seinfeld, will return to the network this year, although in the capacity of producer—not as star. Seinfeld has sold his idea for a reality series called The Marriage Ref, in which comedians-including, NBC surely hopes, Jerry Seinfeld-and other entertainers will adjudicate actual marital spats between actual couples, for the potential edification and amusement of America. Seinfeld has described The Marriage Ref as “a comedy show” not “a therapy show,” and says he expects to demonstrate to television audiences just how hilarious wedded bliss can be, based on his nine years of experience. (Photo with wife, Jessica, “Sex”: Retna)

Since ending his sitcom Seinfeld, the puckish multi-millionaire has had a successful return to stand-up-as documented in the fine documentary Comedian—and has been a reliably amusing talk show guest. But his other efforts—like providing jokes and a voice to the thin animated feature Bee Movie, or writing a children’s book about the pitfalls of trick-or-tricking, or appearing in commercials for Microsoft, or picking a fight with the woman who sued his wife for spearheading a healthy-eating guide similar to her own-have all been greeted somewhat less than warmly. A Jerry Seinfeld-produced reality show about marriage sounds like an idea that pre-fame Seinfeld would’ve tossed around during a bull session with his cronies, and then dropped because he didn’t have the wherewithal to make it happen. It doesn’t necessarily sound like a future hit for NBC. To be fair, neither did Seinfeld’s idea for a sitcom “about nothing.”