Hulu is stepping up its game in the digital video realm by paying almost $1 million per episode to screen all nine seasons of Seinfeld. The deal translates to a $180 million windfall to be split between Sony TV, Time Warner's Castle Rock and Seinfeld's Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.
Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David just got a bit richer
The deal is expected to be announced at Hulu's presentation on Wednesday. According to Variety, Sony TV - which has long controlled the rights to the classic sitcom - has been shopping the series around for some time. A limited number of episodes have been available on the company's Crackle video platform though the new deal marks the first time the show will be available in its entirety, in the binge-watching era.
The movie is said to be a direct response to Netflix's purchase of the rights to Warner Bros' Friends. Hulu also cut a deal in February with CBS TV Distribution for more than 300 episodes of the Eye's CSI.
Other bidders for the streaming rights to Seinfeld included Amazon.com and Yahoo, and Netflix initially expressed an interest before dropping out to pursue Friends at a price tag of $500,000 per episode.
It is thought that reruns of Seinfeld will continue to be held by the cable channel TBS.
A critical darling during its run on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, Seinfeld - a sitcom "about nothing" according to its creator - was voted the greatest television program of all time by TV Guide in 2002. E! named it the "number 1 reason the 90s ruled" while the Writers Guild of America named it the second best written TV series of all time, second only to The Sopranos.