Se­in­feld re­turns to se­ries TV, sort of, as cre­ator of NBC’s

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY FRA­ZIER MOORE

lit­tle Olympic cov­er­age with your Mar­riage Ref com­mer­cials?), vague­ness cloaks the whole high­pro­file project.

One sure thing: Jerry Se­in­feld is the high-pro­file draw. He’s the driv­ing force whose very name con­jures up a cer­tain se­ries that ended a dozen years ago af­ter trans­form­ing TV com­edy and help­ing fuel the glory days NBC will never know again. No won­der “Se­in­feld,” even af­ter all this time, is the magic word for a new show view­ers might oth­er­wise not even have no­ticed.

Trou­ble is, Se­in­feld will mostly stay out of sight in his pri­mary du­ties as a co-cre­ator and pro­duc- er. In­stead, he has be­queathed the on-cam­era role — the ti­tle role of Mar­riage Ref — to ac­tor/standup/not-a-house­hold­name Tom Papa.

One other sure thing: Mar­riage Re­fwill be un­veiled with flour­ish as a so-called sneak preview Sun­day at 10:30 p.m. EST — a half-hour ver­sion strate­gi­cally fol­low­ing the Win­ter Olympics’ clos­ing cer­e­mony. Fi­nally, for bet­ter or worse, Mar­riage Ref goes pub­lic.

Af­ter that, start­ing March 4, it will air for eight Thurs­days at 10 p.m.

But for now, ran­dom clues must suf­fice.

The net­work pitches the show as a hu­mor­ous, all-in-fun hour where “dis­putes be­tween real-life cou­ples are re­vealed, ex­am­ined and ul­ti­mately judged.”

In front of a stu­dio au­di­ence, a ro­tat­ing panel of celebrity “ex­perts” will screen pr­ere­corded clips of those real-life cou­ples hav­ing re­al­life spats: Should the wife let her hus­band park his Har­ley in the liv­ing room? When the fam­ily dog dies, should or shouldn’t it be stuffed and dis­played?

Then, af­ter pon­der­ing the ev­i­dence and hear­ing pan­el­lists’ ar­gu­ments, Papa will make his call in favour of ei­ther the hus­band or the wife.

Pan­el­lists an­nounced thus far will in­clude Alec Bald­win, Kelly Ripa, Tina Fey, Eva Lon­go­ria, Charles Barkley, Larry David, Madonna and Se­in­feld (who ap­pears on the sneak preview).

That’s Mar­riage Ref. Sounds sim­ple enough. Or not. As Se­in­feld ar­tic­u­lated (or tried to) at a Los An­ge­les press gath­er­ing last month, “There’s no way here to­day that we are go­ing to be ... able to ex­plain to you ex­actly what the show is. ... I don’t even think we could nail down the type of show it is.”

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