Seinfeld is coming to Netflix in October even though it should be on Peacock

Seinfeld on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix via YouTube)

Seinfeld is finally streaming again, or at least it will be on October 1, 2021. After the hit show left Hulu on June 23 of this year, the beloved 1990's sitcom is finally coming to Netflix. All 180 episodes of the series will hit the big red streaming machine at the same time, and instantly become one of the best Netflix shows.

Yes, for some reason, NBCUniversal's own streaming service Peacock won't have the greatest NBC sitcom of all time. We're as confused as you are. This is the latest chapter in the sitcom streaming wars, as Netflix lost Friends to HBO Max. That said, it's getting the arguably better sitcom to fill that void. 

Seinfeld, the "show about nothing," aired the misadventures of four self-absorbed NYC neighbors for nine seasons, from 1989 to 1998. After a slow start it became one of the biggest shows on TV, coining phrases left and right, including "sponge-worthy" and explaining the nuance of "yadda, yadda, yadda."

The series, created by the titular comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), was much more expensive than the Soup Nazi's Mulligatawny. In 2019, Netflix reportedly spent more than $500 million to take the show. It was one of the biggest chess moves in the streaming wars, and Netflix reportedly spent more than it did for The Office (U.S.) (which left Netflix for NBCUniversal's Peacock) or Friends.

In an email to the press announcing the release date, Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos had a little fun, joking saying: "This is the first time we’ve taken a risk of this nature, going all in on 9 seasons at the jump ... But Jerry has created something special with this sitcom that nobody has ever done. I truly think he and Mr. David have enormous futures ahead of them and I’m thrilled Netflix could be the home for them to grow their fanbases."

Jerry Seinfeld himself chimed in, saying "Larry and I are enormously grateful to Netflix for taking this chance on us. It takes a lot of guts to trust two schmucks who literally had zero experience in television when we made this thing, ... We really got carried away, I guess. I didn’t realize we made so many of them. Hope to recoup god knows how many millions it must have taken to do. But worth all the work if people like it. Crazy project."

A great move for Netflix and a bad move for Peacock

Netflix is becoming more and more synonymous with its never-ending list of original shows and movies, and less synonymous with licensed content. As the service gets ready to poke its head into the gaming world, moves like acquiring Seinfeld are necessary to make sure people still see it as a place to rewatch the stuff they already love. This is what's obviously necessary for Netflix to keep its spot as one of the best streaming services.

The exorbitantly large price that Netflix spent is indicative of just that, showing that the service is aware it needs to go big to make sure it's seen as the service with every kind of show. Let's just hope the Netflix execs don't celebrate with a nap under their desk, or from copying any of George Costanza's other decisions.

Why, we wonder, is Seinfeld not going to Peacock? Netflix probably made an offer that was too-good to refuse, but Seinfeld is an NBC show through and through. Shouldn't it be on the streaming service where The Office (NBC's most recent mega-hit) lives? Then again, Friends isn't there either. 

All of this just makes Peacock seem more confusing to folks who know enough to expect NBC's shows to be there. Until Peacock can corral all the must-see-TV shows under its umbrella, it's going to be seen as a service for fans of their originals, The Office (U.S.), Premier League soccer, Sunday Night Football and WWE. Maybe that's enough.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.