This Was Television On July 5

1989The Seinfeld Chronicles airs

This long-forgotten pilot scarcely resembles the pop culture behemoth it would lead to in the 1990s. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is absent from the cast, and Michael Richards’s character is called “Kessler.” It was also dismally rated, after scoring even more dismally with test audiences. NBC shelved the project of stand-up comics Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, though it would eventually be ordered to series—a four-episode order, the smallest in network TV history. The first season proper of Seinfeld aired nearly one year later. 

This inauspicious beginning is reminiscent of another decade-ruling NBC sitcom, Cheers, which finishe dead last in the ratings its first season and which featured a now-little-seen pilot where Sam was a retired cricket player, Coach was called “Commandant,” and Diane was a deadly android. -A.D.

Today’s BirthdaysKathryn Erbe, been on both sides of the law (47); Edie Falco,  (49); Ryan Hansen, lovable Dick (31); Katherine Helmond, Tate matriarch (84); Shirley Knight, veteran guest star (76); Pruitt Taylor Vince, Deadwood denizen (52). 

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