'Seinfeld' cast reunites with 'Enthusiasm'

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PASADENA, Calif. -- "Seinfeld" is back, sort of. And it's on HBO, not NBC.

Larry David, head writer for much of the run of "Seinfeld," has reunited the show's cast for this season's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (Sept. 20, HBO).

For years, David, who plays a version of himself on "Curb," has been asked about writing a "Seinfeld" reunion, and he's always said no, not gonna happen, it's a lame idea.

"And then I thought, it might be very funny to do that on 'Curb,' " David said. He enlisted Jerry Seinfeld and the rest of the cast, who will appear in as many as five "Curb" episodes. Viewers will see David writing the reunion show, cast members doing a read-through of the script, rehearsing scenes, filming the program and parts of the end product. A full episode will not be shown, but it's possible the "Curb" season finale could run beyond its usual 30 minutes and up to an hour.

"You will get an idea of what happened 11 years later," David said. "The cast members will be playing themselves on 'Curb' while all this is going on."

David said "it's possible" that "Curb" will address the controversy of a few years ago when "Seinfeld" star Michael Richards used the N-word during a stand-up act. And the show will explain why David agrees to write a "Seinfeld" reunion because he has always said he won't.

"That's a big thing because I would never do that," David said. "So there was a compelling reason as to why I decided to do it."

Could this new "Seinfeld" possibly be good?

"As opposed to the finale?" David said, cracking wise.

Considering Larry's tendency to self-sabotage on "Curb," might this "Seinfeld" be a disaster?

"My guy might consider wrecking something like that," he said. "I'm not saying he did. We will see what happens."

David, who seemed generally more upbeat and even happy than in past "Curb" press conferences, said there's a reason for it: "This Larry is kind of melding with 'Curb' Larry, and I love 'Curb' Larry. Always hated this Larry. And so I'm getting a little like 'Curb' Larry. ... So, yes, I am a little happier."

David even appeared on a "Hannah Montana" episode for the benefit of his daughters, who don't care for "Curb."

"I don't think they like to see their Daddy behaving the way he does," David said. "I think it bothers them to see Daddy yelling at people."

So he ends up watching "Gossip Girl" with them.

"Many of the characters seem to sound like this," David said in a sultry whisper worth of Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick). "They are all kind of breathy. Very, very sophisticated."

Just don't hold your breath waiting for David to turn up on The CW drama.

"Only if my daughters were on the show with me," he said. "Otherwise, I think you would have to blow my head off."

'Jon & Kate' returns

TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8" returns with a new episode Monday at 9 p.m. Now that Jon and Kate Gosselin have filed for divorce, they will no longer sit awkwardly on opposite ends of a couch for interviews. Instead they'll be given their own chairs to sit in, and they'll be interviewed separately.

"When we realized they weren't going to be on the couch together, it seemed a little empty," said TLC president Eileen O'Neill.

One scene viewers won't see: The Gosselins telling their children about the divorce.

"[Jon and Kate] know there are private moments and limits," O'Neill said. "What they've discussed with their kids is very private, and we don't share in that."

She also said there are no plans to follow Jon and Kate individually.

"The show has always been based in the parents relating to the children, and that's absolutely going to continue," O'Neill said. "They're just parenting on a more individual basis, and it's getting a little hectic when it's one against eight instead of two against eight."

She said the network is navigating through a "sensitive situation" with the family and that it's the Gosselins' call to continue production.

"At the end of the day, it's the family's decision to be involved in the show, and they're dedicated to it," she said. "It's become an important part of their lives, and it's going to be an ongoing part of their lives until they decide it's not good for them."

Wait, didn't that ship sail several months ago? What more of a wake-up call do the Gosselins need that the TV show is not healthy for them or their children?

"They enjoy it, they're happy, they enjoy the production and it's been in their minds a good thing for their lives," O'Neill said. "We want to stay with them as long as they want to stay with us."

That attitude might change if viewers abandon the show because of the sadness that hangs over it as the marriage is dissolved.

"It's a show that's always had a strong base," O'Neill said, "and we hope that will continue to be there."

HBO programming updates

HBO, which is largely recovered from a year or two in the wilderness, has renewed its three current series -- "True Blood," "Entourage" and "Hung" -- for new seasons to return next summer.

Regarding other series:

• No decision has been made about bringing back "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency." "We're in conversations right now trying to figure out the next step on that show," said HBO programming president Michael Lombardo.

• Executives are ready to order a third season of "Flight of the Conchords," but they're waiting on the show's stars/creators, who are working on a new album, to say they want to return to production on the TV show. "I'm sure that will happen," Lombardo said.

• "Big Love" will return for a new season in January.

• "In Treatment" was based on an Israeli series that ran for only two seasons, so to make a third season would require creating stories from whole cloth. "We're trying to put it together," said HBO co-president Richard Plepler.

• Animated show "The Life and Times of Tim" will return for a new season, but it hasn't been scheduled yet.

• Network executives said "Little Britain USA" won't be back; however, that show's creators are developing some specials with all-new characters that will air late next year or early in 2011.

• The miniseries "The Pacific," which tells a story of World War II in the Pacific theater from the same producers who made "Band of Brothers," is slated to air in March. "Treme," a New Orleans-set drama from David Simon, creator of "The Wire," will premiere in April.

• HBO executives are waiting on delivery of the pilot of Martin Scorsese's "Boardwalk Empire," a period drama set in Atlantic City, before ordering a full first season, but they're excited and optimistic that it will come to fruition as a series. "We're set to get going in September," Lombardo said.

• Podcasts created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant and featuring Karl Pilkington will be animated for an upcoming HBO series. Some new material will also be recorded.

• "Epitafios," a terrific Spanish-language thriller filmed in Argentina, returns for a second season Sept. 22 on HBO2.

Channel surfing

TruTV's "Black Gold" returns for a second season at 10 p.m. Aug. 19. ... Amy Poehler returns to the anchor desk for the first two episodes of "Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update Thursday" on Sept. 17 and 24. ... From the Department of Slumming: "Entourage" star Jeremy Piven will host "WWE's Monday Night Raw" Monday at 9 p.m. on USA.


Post-Gazette TV editor Rob Owen is attending the Television Critics Association summer press tour. Follow his updates throughout the day in Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. You can reach him at 412-263-1112 or rowen@post-gazette.com .


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