Jerry Seinfeld & Endemol ink global distribution deal for Marriage Ref

MUMBAI: Endemol has secured an exclusive international distribution deal with Jerry Seinfeld and his partner Ellen Rakieten (The Oprah Winfrey Show) for their newly created comedy-reality format The Marriage Ref.

The Marriage Ref marks the comedian’s first television series since Seinfeld ended its nine year run in May 1998. Seinfeld will be behind the camera for The Marriage Ref, which has been commissioned for a prime time run of six hour-long episodes on NBC in March 2010.

Endemol will be the exclusive distributor of the format across all platforms outside of the USA and will produce local versions of the show around the world. Endemol will also globally distribute the NBC series, which is being executive produced by Seinfeld and Rakieten.

"To me, marriage is this great comedy planet that so many people around the world live on and will relate too. This is not a therapy show, it’s a comedy show. After nine years of marriage I have discovered that the comedic potential of this subject is quite rich," said Seinfeld.

Rakieten added, "Endemol’s enthusiasm and passion for The Marriage Ref was evident from our first meeting. Their incredible track record speaks for itself. We are proud to partner with them on this project."

Endemol Group chief commercial officer Tom Toumazis said, "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a worldwide legend of Jerry Seinfeld’s status. The Marriage Ref is already a major network commission in the USA and with someone of Ellen Rakieten’s unparalleled experience behind it has all the makings of a global smash hit. This is without doubt the most significant third party distribution deal Endemol has secured since we announced our intention to grow this part of our business last year."

The Marriage Ref will feature opinionated celebrities, comedians, sports personalities and international A-list stars who will candidly comment, judge and offer different strategies to real-life couples in the midst of a classic marital dispute.

"It will be revealing, edgy, controversial and funny. Picture well-known people weighing in on your relationship issues and deciding who is right and who is wrong, right on the spot, like a referee," said Rakieten.