Seinfeld cast boycotts DVD
Actors who played Kramer, George and Elaine won't participate in DVD set due to money fight.
December 23, 2003: 8:43 AM EST
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Kramer, George and Elaine aren't happy, so fans of the old Seinfeld sitcom won't be seeing interviews with them on an upcoming DVD set, according to a published report.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Michael Richards (who played Kramer), Jason Alexander (who played George) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (who played Elaine), declined to give on-camera interviews for the DVD set or otherwise participate in the project because they are not being offered a share of the sales, only a recording fee.
"They all said, 'Why should we make other people richer,'" said a representative of one of the actors to the Times.
One of the selling points of DVDs are the extras not available with the original product, such as commentary tracks by a film's or series' director or stars, or features and documentaries about the making of the movie or show.
The sale of DVD collections of an entire season or two of a television show has become the fastest growing segment of the already fast-growing DVD market, according to industry officials. Sales of TV on DVD sales are expected to nearly double this year to $1.5 billion from $880 million in 2002, Video Store Magazine told CNN/Money earlier this year.
The Times reports that one of the representatives of the three unhappy actors said the three receive annual payments of about $100,000 each from the continued airing of the show in syndication. But that pales in comparison to the millions received by the show's creators, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Seinfeld and David, along with the companies set to produce and distribute the DVD, will share in sales of the DVD set.
The three supporting stars also received $600,000 each per episode the final year the show was still on NBC, although they had been seeking $1 million each per episode. Each has starred in short-lived network series since "Seinfeld" went off the air.
"Seinfeld" ran on NBC from 1990 through 1998 and is now popular in syndication. The DVD set is being prepared by Castle Rock Entertainment, which produced the show for NBC, and is to be distributed by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. Castle Rock is a unit of Time Warner Inc. (TWX: Research, Estimates), as is CNN/Money. Columbia TriStar is a unit of Sony (SNE: Research, Estimates), while NBC is a unit of General Electric Co. (GE: Research, Estimates)