Seinfeld without Elaine? Get out! It almost happened, but was averted following the pilot — dubbed The Seinfeld Chronicles, like Jerry was wielding a broadsword or something — thanks to NBC executives worried the "Show About Nothing" lacked sex appeal for the guys, and didn't feature a relatable female character for the gals. Network bigwigs "emphatically" suggested "a woman on par with George and Kramer," according to Jennifer Keishin Armstrong's Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything. Thus, Julia Louis-Dreyfus's hilarious, and iconic, Elaine Benes was born.
That's not the only example of positive executive input in the show's history. Before casting Louis-Dreyfus, the entire show, in fact, was literally saved by network executive Rick Ludwin, who was in charge of late-night programming and specials. Ludwin sensed that the show was unique so, in an unprecedented move, he offered to pay for the show's first four proper episodes out of his totally unrelated department's budget, salvaging the whole project after the "dead pilot" was burned off on a random summer night. Superman's great, Jerry, but clearly not all heroes wear capes.