“I was angry”: Jerry Seinfeld’s Humiliating Exit from First TV Show Sowed the Seeds of His Billion Dollar Sitcom Career

Jerry Seinfeld's billion dollar career did not come to him so easily, as he was callously terminated from another sitcom

“I was angry”: Jerry Seinfeld’s Humiliating Exit from First TV Show Sowed the Seeds of His Billion Dollar Sitcom Career


  • Jerry Seinfeld was fired from the American sitcom Benson in 1980 over creative differences with the producer.
  • Seinfeld was angry that he was not informed beforehand and decided to pursue comedy career on his own terms from then.
  • The decision may have inspired him to create Seinfeld for NBC which made him one of the TV's richest men.
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Jerry Seinfeld’s sitcom was born out of the comedian’s humiliating exit from another popular sitcom at the time, Benson. He was fired from the series without prior notice due to the creative differences between him and the producer. Seinfeld, the sitcom that he created, continues to entertain the new generation of viewers with its dead-pan humor and striking one-liners.

Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jason Alexander in Seinfeld
Michael Richards, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jason Alexander in Seinfeld

Seinfeld, created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, ran for nine successful seasons from 1989 to 1998. The show continues to fund the bank accounts of its four main leads – Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards.

Jerry Seinfeld’s Firing From One Sitcom Inspired Him To Develop Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld in the sitcom Benson, from which he was fired abruptly
Jerry Seinfeld in the sitcom Benson, from which he was fired abruptly

Jerry Seinfeld was fired from the sitcom Benson in 1980. He played the role of a mail-delivery boy, Frankie, in the spin-off series of another sitcom Soap. Benson starred Robert Guillaume as the titular character in a comedy series set against a political background. Interestingly, the series abruptly fired Seinfeld after the character appeared in a total of three episodes.


Seinfeld’s Frankie was a pretty funny character in the show who fancied himself a stand-up comedian and tried to practice his comedy routines unsuccessfully in front of others. However, the actor had some creative differences over the portrayal of his character with the show’s producer (via The New York Times).

The Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee host opened up about this abrupt firing in a 2006 interview. He shared that the creators of the sitcom didn’t bother informing him and that he was angry at them. This one bad experience led Seinfeld to pursue his comedy career on his own terms. He shared (via Sitcoms Online):

“They didn’t bother to tell me. I was angry. That doesn’t happen in stand-up. Once you get to a certain level, they don’t make you go back to the beginning. Because I can control that.”

His bad luck ran out quickly and he was offered the chance to have his own show on NBC. For the popular sitcom, Jerry Seinfeld went on to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1993 and the Golden Globe Award for Best Comedy Actor on a TV Series in 1994.


Seinfeld Still Contributes Largely To Jerry Seinfeld’s Net Worth

jerry seinfeld in seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld made a massive fortune from Seinfeld

During the final season of Seinfeld, NBC reached a pact with Jerry Seinfeld to pay him $1 million per episode. His co-stars also asked for the same salary but had to settle for $600,000 per episode (via EW). According to an analysis by Bloomberg, Jerry Seinfeld has apparently entered the billionaire club from his earnings on Seinfeld and other TV projects.

These earnings majorly consist of money through off-network and cable syndication. The show earned more than $4 billion in syndication and Jerry Seinfeld made a significant profit from this amount, earning nearly $465 million. The recent sale of streaming rights of the show to Netflix also added to his net worth. However, Seinfeld’s staff insist that the assessment is inaccurate (via New York Post).

However, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the other stars did not receive much from these deals. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the three supporting actors would receive royalties only when the show airs on cable or streaming services. These royalties were in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year at most.


Seinfeld is now available for streaming on Netflix.


Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1259

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.