Larry David, the co-creator of "Seinfeld," always thought it was a "lame idea" to have a reunion show of one of television's most successful sitcoms. Then he thought better of it.
But instead of having the reunion on NBC, where the show was a ratings monster during the latter half of its nine-season run, David came up with the idea of having it on his own HBO comedy series, "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which begins its seventh season this fall.
The surprising news that all the major original cast members of "Seinfeld" would appear on-screen together again came Thursday evening during the premium channel's presentations at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour in Pasadena.
"I always said no. We would never do that, it's a lame idea," said David. "And then I thought it might be very funny to do that on 'Curb.' And I kept thinking about it, and started to think of different scenarios. I called Jerry [Seinfeld], and Jerry was game. I called the others, and we did it."
Other "Seinfeld" cast members have appeared on "Curb," including Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine on "Seinfeld") and Jason Alexander (who played George). "Curb" makes frequent reference to "Seinfeld" and David's role as writer and co-creator. The four "Seinfeld" costars did get together in recent years to promote the release of the complete series on DVD.
"Seinfeld" fans, however, shouldn't expect a full reunion episode. Rather, viewers will see David and Seinfeld writing the episode, aspects of the read-through, parts of rehearsals and the show-within-the-show being filmed.
"You'll get an idea of what happened [to the characters] 11 years later," David explained. "You won't see a show from beginning to end, but you'll see parts of it."
But why would on-screen Larry do the reunion? one reporter asked.
"That's a very good question, and that will be answered in one of the episodes," David said. "That's a big thing, because I would never do that, so there was a compelling reason why I decided to do it."
Audiences will also see the cast members playing themselves on "Curb," which raised the question, will the subject of Michael Richards' infamous onstage racial rant at a local comedy club make its way into the series?
"It's possible," David teased. The reunion show will play out in "Curb's" season finale, which might be expanded into a one-hour episode.
David, whose mood seemed especially cheerful, was asked if "Curb" has been good for his neuroses.
"I was talking to someone earlier, and I was saying that this Larry is kind of melding with 'Curb' Larry. I love 'Curb' Larry. Always hated this Larry," he said, gesturing to himself.
"So yes, I am a little happier!"
Ames makes an impression
The HBO panels already prompted the question: Is the TV world ready for Jonathan Ames?
A New York writer with a large cult following, Ames has never produced a series before. But he's nevertheless assembled a killer cast for his new HBO comedy, "Bored to Death."
Jason Schwartzman plays the hero, also named Jonathan Ames, a down-on-his-luck writer who's mistaken for a private eye. Zach Galifianakis, who shot to stardom in the feature "The Hangover," plays Ames' best friend, while Ted Danson plays his boss.
Even sharing a stage with such practiced hams, the real Ames and his eccentricity stood out at a Thursday media session in Pasadena. He began the session with what he called a "harried call," an ear-shattering cry he says he and his childhood friends used when menaced by more "normal children."
In the "Bored" cast, Ames appears to have found a trio of kindred spirits -- people with a skewed sense of humor and of life. Galifianakis joked that after his newfound stardom he was tempted to "buy 17 Dodge Vipers" but then realized the vehicles were not made as station wagons.
Ames conceded that the show's title was asking for abuse from reviewers, but then noted that he had once written a book titled "What's Not to Love?"