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January 21st, 2009
Great Lines
George Shapiro Talks About The End of Seinfeld
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George Shapiro: Jack Welch and Bob Wright really wanted a tenth year.  And we had a meeting with Howard West and myself and Jerry and Bob Wright and Jack Welch, you know, he was the chairman of General Electric. Like the biggest entrepreneur in the world. And we had this breakfast on the thirty-eighth floor overlooking Central Park; we had engraved, you know, menus. And Jack Welch was there – he was pitching Jerry, it was just the opposite. He had charts, “Look how it went up, it went way past ‘Home Improvement’, all the shows – it’s still growing in its ninth year.” And he wrote on a little piece of paper, you know, what he was offering Jerry. And he handed it to Jerry and – whew! Do you want to know what it was?  Okay, because I think it’s been out already. It was five million an episode for twenty-two episodes. To do the tenth year. And Jerry said, “let’s talk.” You know, we went for a walk. Howard, Jerry and I went for a walk in Central Park, and we sat down on the bench on eight-first street and Central Park West, the same bench where he told his father he wanted to be a comedian. So anyway Jerry sits down, he said, “You know, as a standup comedian, you know, you feel you’re getting a standing ovation. And that’s the time to leave. You don’t want to stay on stage too long. You don’t want to stay on like another fifteen minutes so they say ‘Oh he was good but he was on a little long.’” He said, “My deepest gut, you know, is to leave now. Despite the offer and everything else.” So I was happy ‘cause I said, “This is a great – to go off like that and for the future you have that. Nothing – no one can ever take that away from you.

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