After more than a decade of standup comedy, Jerry Seinfeld finally managing to get “Seinfeld” made in 1998 was a turning point in his career. After years of toiling and touring, he was getting paid tons of money to become a household name. By the show’s third season, it was the most-watched sitcom on television. He went from making $20,000 an episode to doubling that, to reaching $100,000 and eventually $1 million an episode. This, in addition to all the money from syndication and merchandise, made Seinfeld a very wealthy man.
It was perhaps because of this wealth that Seinfeld wasn’t afraid to end “Seinfeld” on his own terms. Executive producer Alec Berg talked about this in a Variety piece.
“Jerry’s always had such an amazing head on his shoulders, and he’s never been in awe of any of it. He handles it all with dignity, and I think he just felt like this felt right to him. [The network] had offered to give him seven gazillion dollars and his own planet if he wanted to do another season. And he thought about it and said, ‘The only reason to do another year would be money, and that would be a shame.'”
So Seinfeld stuck to his creative guns, and the show came to its end after its ninth season, leaving millions upon millions of dollars on the table. Seinfeld went on to other projects, and while they were less successful, they were at least what he actually wanted to do creatively. And no matter what, nobody can take away from those nine seasons of magic.