Almost Half of ‘Seinfeld’ Streaming Audience Wasn’t Even Alive When It First Aired

The sitcom ran on NBC from 1989 to 1998

Seinfeld cast
"Seinfeld" (NBC)

Bingeable new series like “Squid Game” and “Ted Lasso” generated the most online chatter in 2021. Millions of viewers also turned to classic sitcoms, including the Emmy-winning “Seinfeld,” which was added to Netflix’s roster on Oct. 1 and became one of the most-streamed classic series of the year.

The hit sitcom starred Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander as New Yorkers who introduced phrases like “low talker,” “master of your domain” and “sponge-worthy,” into the parlance.

It’s not a surprise that fans of the comedy, which was part of NBC’s 1990s “Must-See TV” lineup, would want to re-watch, but, according to Nielsen data released on Friday, 41% of people watching last year were aged 34 or younger, meaning many they were toddlers — or not even born — when the show signed off in 1998.

The sitcom ranked 14th out of 15 for most-streamed acquired series in 2021, behind “Criminal Minds,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Gilmore Girls.”

After it first hit Netflix in October, older fans marveled about younger people tuning in for the first time, only to realize that many of them were not first-time watchers at all.

“As long as I can remember it’s been on syndication every weekday night. Really no excuse,” tweeted one younger fan, while another commented, “I’m 30 and SEINFELD reruns after school were just what we did. Baffling that there are people who didn’t watch it all the time in syndication.”

Some families even planned dinnertime around it: “My family had dinner every day at 5:30 pm and I remember this because ‘The Simpsons’ was on at 5:30 and ‘Seinfeld’ was on at 6. When they pushed them both back a half hour to start at 6 and 6:30? You better believe we pushed our dinner back too.”

And part of the appeal for first-time viewers? Discovering “Veep” star Louis-Dreyfus and young Seinfeld were kind of sex symbols back in the day. As one fan in Indianapolis, Indiana tweeted in January 2021 ,”So my parents have decided to watch ‘Seinfeld’ for the first time ever and young Jerry Seinfeld is actually pretty hot.”