So the May 14 ”Seinfeld” finale earned the second-highest non-sports rating of the 1990s. Big deal. The last lap of the show about nothing wasn’t exactly delivering something we weren’t expecting.
In the end, the show’s plot wasn’t quite as surprising as the Peacock’s decision to squeeze just a little more Nielsen magic out of the biggest sweeps stunt of the last five years. Not content with a mere 41.3 rating, 58 share and a record $1.7 million per 30-second spot, NBC is going to rerun the 75-minute ”Seinfeld” finale Wednesday May 20 at 8 p.m., hoping to get a killer finishing kick to a monster May sweeps.
The rerun numbers will no doubt be tiny compared with Thursday’s results, since, for one thing, ”Seinfeld” and Wednesday have just never gotten along. ”Seinfeld,” in fact, struggled through two seasons as a Wednesday regular back in 1991-92 and ’92-93, and this season’s attempt to double-run ”Seinfeld” on Wednesdays accomplished little besides robbing the venerable sitcom of a little farewell-tour luster.
But if NBC can just manage a fraction of last Thursday’s success — an estimated 109 million view-ers total, including a phenomenal 72% of adults 18-49 who were watching television during the ”Seinfeld” timeslot — it will be a Wednesday to remember.
In fact, based on calls to the network Friday, NBC believes ”millions” of ”Seinfeld” fans missed Thursday’s finale — hard as it is to believe.
The finale’s rerun will be teamed with the season’s last two ”3rd Rock from the Sun” firstruns and the ”Law & Order” season finale.
So how does NBC shoehorn the 75-minute ”Seinfeld,” two ”3rd Rock” half-hours and an hourlong ”Law & Order” into three hours of primetime? Well, NBC won’t quite make it by 11 p.m., but they’ll come close, simply by cutting all the promotional blather that normally assaults you through any primetime sitting.