LOS ANGELES - Following the brouhaha ensuing from Michael Richards' comedy club tirade which was richly laced with the "N-word," Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, the Seinfeld series owner and distributor, has announced it will edit the existing episodes of the show to replace Cosmo Kramer.
"Among the many fans of Seinfeld, one of the most popular TV programs of the 1990s, and one of the most popular re-runs now, are people who were offended by Mr. Richards much publicized and highly insensitive verbal outburst. Unfortunately, the public so identifies Michael Richards with Cosmo Kramer that continuing to keep episodes with Kramer in them on the air no longer seems feasible," said Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's vice president for content acquisition, Cindy Dolland.
"However, as there are only two episodes without Kramer, it seemed unreasonable to try to only show those two, as great as they are (The Library and The Chinese Restaurant), over and over again. Further, the sales potential for a DVD with only two episodes would appear to be limited," said Dolland.
Audience tests of a Seinfeld version simply editing Kramer out of each episode were deemed unsatisfactory. As one test audience member, Eduardo Conklin of Laguna Beach, Californina, said, "I couldn't understand why everyone would stop as the door opened, then scan across an empty room, reacting with a startle. Didn't make any sense to me."
Dialogue with Kramer's audio parts erased was enigmatic at best to test viewers.
Sony's Dolland says now rather than simply deleting the Cosmo Kramer character they will digitally replace him with an actor "who viewers will recognize as showing more linguistic nuance to minority sensitivities." The leading candidates at this time include Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy but the best bet is a digitally resurrected Richard Pryor, who will be reconstructed from his filmed comedy shows.
Media analysts expect not only will the revised box sets be "must buys" for regular Seinfeld viewers but also for the remaining Richard Pryor fans.
Sony's Dolland says she expects the re-edited and re-mastered DVD sets to available by late spring of 2007.
Copyright 2006 Douglas Salguod