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The TV sitcom Seinfeld was originally called ‘The Seinfeld Chronicles‘.

The TV sitcom Seinfeld was originally called ‘The Seinfeld Chronicles‘.
The TV sitcom Seinfeld was originally called ‘The Seinfeld Chronicles‘.

"The Seinfeld Chronicles" (also known as "Good News, Bad News" or "Pilot") is the pilot episode of the American sitcom Seinfeld, which first aired on NBC on July 5, 1989.

The first of the 180 Seinfeld episodes, the pilot was written by show creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, and directed by Art Wolff. The episode revolves around a fictionalized version of Seinfeld, who is unsure about the romantic intentions of a woman he met, and frets about the meaning of her signals with his friend George (Jason Alexander) and neighbor Kessler (Michael Richards, whose character would later be renamed "Kramer").

Though they had been asked to put together a 90-minute TV special, Seinfeld and David wrote a TV pilot as they felt their "show about nothing" concept would fit better in the shorter, more conventional half-hour format. The storyline, and the main characters, were inspired by real-life events and people. Though the NBC executives were unsure about the show, they, as Warren Littlefield would later state, "all said, ah what the hell, let's try a pilot on this thing and see what happens". The test audiences, however, reacted extremely negatively. Although NBC would still broadcast the episode to see how audiences and TV critics would react, the network had already decided not to pick up the show, as a result of the test results. Castle Rock Entertainment, which produced this pilot (and the series proper), also had another pilot produced for NBC featuring actress Ann Jillian in her own eponymous series. After the poor reception of The Seinfeld Chronicles, the production company turned to Jillian's series, which tested better and had earned a full-season order; it would only last a single 13-episode season before being cancelled by the end of 1990.

When The Seinfeld Chronicles aired, it was watched by nearly 11% of American households, and received generally favorable reviews from critics, who reacted with disappointment that NBC did not order a first season. Convinced that the show had potential, and supported by the positive reviews, NBC executive Rick Ludwin managed to convince his superiors to order a four-episode first season (the smallest order in US TV history), by offering a part of his personal budget in return. The show, renamed Seinfeld, would go on to become the most successful sitcom in television history.


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