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The pilot of “Seinfeld” aired on NBC on this date in 1989 and received poor reviews from audience focus groups, who variously described it as “too Jewish,” “too New York,” and lacking in forceful characters. The episode, titled “The Seinfeld Chronicles,” featured Jerry, George, and Kramer (then named Kessler), but no Elaine. The network nevertheless extended a budget for four more episodes, and the show went on to become the most popular in television history, with 180 episodes made in nine years. “Seinfeld” was written by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, whose 42nd birthday came three days before the premiere. To see the opening dialogue, look below.
“Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.” —Jerry Seinfeld