‘Seinfeld’: Jason Alexander Explains Why the Series Ended After 9 Seasons — ‘There Was Nothing New We Could Do’

It’s always surprising when a popular show comes to an end during the height of its popularity. Seinfeld was undoubtedly the most-watched comedy in the nation when the finale aired in 1998. The show could have gone on longer, but co-creator Jerry Seinfeld decided to let it die. Why didn’t he keep the laughs going?

Seinfeld expressed his reasons for ending the series in the past. Now his costar Jason Alexander (George Costanza) is adding his thoughts to the conversation about why Seinfeld ceased production after 9 seasons.

‘Seinfeld’ castmates earned $1 million per episode by season 9

Seinfeld cast
Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Jason Alexander as George Costanza | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

No one knew what a smashing success Seinfeld would turn out to be. Comedian Seinfeld and his friend and co-creator Larry David came up with the idea while walking around making fun of their everyday interactions. The show is loosely based on Seinfeld’s real stand-up comedy, also known as observational humor.

Seinfeld strongly rejects the theory that the series was “a show about nothing.” But fans appreciated how different it was from anything else on the air. By season 9, each of the four main cast members was earning $1 million per episode.

That’s all thanks to how popular the NBC sitcom became. By the last season, Seinfeld dominated the ratings on Thursday nights.

Jerry Seinfeld chose to end the show because he loves the number 9

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The comedian the show was based upon had a curious reason for wanting to end the series while it was still so popular. According to Seinfeld, he intentionally chose the ninth season because he liked the number.

 “Nine is cool,” Seinfeld told Vanity Fair in 1998. “By the end, we will have done 180 shows (1+8=9). When I was thinking about quitting the show, I thought, nine. People said, ’10 — why not 10?’ But 10 is lame. Nine is my number. And then I found out that nine in numerology means completion.”

He could have made money by continuing the series. Later, Seinfeld made hundreds of millions in residual income thanks to royalty payments.

Jason Alexander has a practical theory for why ‘Seinfeld’ ended

Though the comedian’s reasoning made sense, Alexander took a more logical stance on why the show ended while it was dominating the TV landscape. During a podcast interview, the actor claimed the cast decided together to bring Seinfeld to a close, ET Canada reported.

Alexander said:

“We took ourselves off the air. We called it quits. The reason I think we did it — Jerry may have had other reasons like burnout and wanting to have a life — but the reason we discussed at the time was we all thought that the show could continue to be funny because the writers were always really good and they would find these amazing guest people to come in all the time. So, there was a constant flow of a new sense of humor. And we thought funny is not the obstacle here.”

He continued:

“The obstacle was that after nine seasons, the audience could more or less anticipate how any of these characters would react in any given situation. There was nothing new we could do to these characters and still have it be Seinfeld… Since the show had career-wise done everything it was going to do for us and it had taken care of us financially extremely well, the mutual thought was why don’t we tuck it in before the audience says this kid’s been up too long.”

Fans still aren’t over the ending of Seinfeld. But we’ll always have the reruns.