You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ex-‘Seinfeld’ scribe wins suit

Former “Seinfeld” scribe Carol Leifer has prevailed in a lawsuit that accused her of lifting an idea from a short film for the subplot of an episode of the hit NBC sitcom.

In a suit filed in New York last year, filmmaker Neil Leifer (no relation) claimed he approached Carol Leifer in 1991 with his idea for a comedy short revolving around conversations in a manicurist’s salon run by Koreans.

Leifer, a standup comic and former executive story editor on “Seinfeld,” turned down the offer to star in the short, which was eventually produced and screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1992 under the title “Rosebud.”

In a ruling issued June 26, New York Supreme Court Judge Harold Tompkins dismissed Neil Leifer’s suit, saying his idea was “not so genuinely novel and original to warrant protection.” “Seinfeld” producer Castle Rock Entertainment and NBC were also named as defendants in the suit.

Neil Leifer’s “Rosebud” focused on the confusion sparked by parallel conversations — one in English, one in Korean — between two Korean manicurists and two American customers in the shop.

The subplot of a 1995 “Seinfeld” episode found the character Elaine becoming convinced that two Korean manicurists were talking about her in their native tongue while they worked on her nails.

In his ruling, Tompkins cited Shakespeare’s “Henry V” to make the point that the confusion caused by language barriers has been comedy fodder for centuries. Gerald Levine, attorney for Neil Leifer, said his client hasn’t decided whether he’ll appeal the decision.

More TV

  • CBS News Sets Global 'Earth Matters'

    CBS News Sets Global 'Earth Matters' Reporting Effort for Earth Day

    CBS News is sending correspondents to far corners of the earth for an all-day “Earth Matters” reporting effort to kick off Monday on “CBS This Morning.” To coincide with Earth Day, five correspondents will be spread among five continents to offer in-depth reports on environmental issues and the politics in the U.S. surrounding the response [...]

  • Jimmy Kimmel government shutdown

    Jimmy Kimmel Sets Live Classic Sitcom Special for May on ABC

    Jimmy Kimmel’s long-gestating live sitcom special is finally coming to fruition. Kimmel announced Thursday night on his ABC late-night show that the special, which was first announced in May 2017, will air Wednesday, May 22, from 8-9:30 p.m. ET. The special will see a cast of celebrity guests recreating two classic episodes of the sitcoms [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA: 92% of Writers Who Signed Statement of Support Have Fired Agents

    The Writers Guild of America estimated that over 92% of their members who support a new code of conduct for talent agencies have fired those representatives. Letters announcing formal termination will be delivered on Monday, the guild said in a late-hitting memo on Thursday, as most agencies will be closed tomorrow in observance of Good [...]

  • The Village

    NBC Swaps Timeslots of Freshman Drama 'The Village,' 'The Voice' on Tuesdays

    NBC is changing the timeslots of Tuesday shows “The Voice” and “The Village.” Up to this point, freshman scripted drama “The Village” has aired at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays immediately after “The Voice” at 8 p.m. Beginning April 23, “The Village” will air at 8 followed by “The Voice” at 9. The schedule will remain [...]

  • Donald Trump

    HBO Fires Back at Trump's 'Game of Thrones'-Inspired 'No Collusion' Tweet

    HBO is firing back at President Donald Trump after he sent another “Game of Thrones”-inspired tweet in response to the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. “Though we can understand the enthusiasm for ‘Game of Thrones’ now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content