1998: The year of Seinfeld?
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From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester
NEW YORK (CNN) -- He might not be named "Man of the Year," but Jerry Seinfeld certainly caused one of the biggest stirs in the entertainment industry in 1998.
When his sitcom "Seinfeld" ended this past May, an estimated 76 million people tuned in to watch. For NBC, his departure has been a major loss: Millions of viewers have tuned out, which has led to a loss of millions in revenue from lowered ad rates, while millions in salaries have been paid out to stars who cannot stand and deliver the way Seinfeld did.
"Seinfeld" certainly was not the first hit show to call it quits, but it may be the last to create such a stir, considering viewership continues to spread thin over an increasing number of channels. The Sein-off of "Seinfeld" was the second most reported TV newsmagazine story of 1998.
"Doing the last few episodes and doing the finale was just amazing," says Seinfeld. "I felt like we were in Dorothy's house there in 'The Wizard of Oz,' just spinning in the tornado and then I crashed and I landed in Oz. So now I'm on the yellow brick road."
In other words, it was far from the end for Seinfeld himself, who has managed to maintain the interest of his fans through a flurry of new projects, including a stand-up act that was shown on HBO.
"To be in front of the audience, that's the most fun I can have," he says. "I've been on beaches, I've been on boats. It's pleasant, but it's not really fun."
All the while, he dealt with the media's insatiable appetite for all things Seinfeld, which was heightened when it was reported that Seinfeld was embroiled in an affair with a married woman.
So what's next for Seinfeld, after an unforgettable 1998?
"I'm in the glow. I'm still on cloud nine about the show and how great it all was, and I just like thinking back on it and watching the re-runs," he says. "And no, I'm not worried about the next thing."
His co-stars don't seem worried either. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (who played Elaine) says she wants to enjoy some family time. Michael Richards (aka Kramer) is looking over movie scripts. Jason Alexander (George) is producing future TV pilots. None plan to star in a sitcom anytime soon.
But then, there won't be another sitcom like "Seinfeld."
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