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Seinfeld's 'Marriage Ref' - Pray for NBC's prime time

After seeing the "special sneak preview" of "The Marriage Ref" Sunday night, I am thinking maybe Jay Leno in prime time wasn't such a bad idea after all. If this is NBC's idea of how to win viewers back at 10 p.m., heaven help the poor affiliates like WBAL-TV that have to try and find an audience for their late newscasts on the heels of it.

This show doesn't deserve a spot in daytime syndication, let alone a key position in prime time. I am serious, there were better game shows on in the 1950s when budgets were miniscule, technology was primitive and few producers yet knew how to use the medium of television. "Jackpot Bowling with Milton Berle," in 1959, was funnier and featured a more engaging concept than this sorry production from Jerry Seinfeld. Look it up.

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The concept involves a married couple involved in a disagreement appearing on tape arguing about the difference of opinion. Then a three-person celebrity panel tries to make jokes about their situation, with each panelist voting as to whether the man or woman is right. The final verdict is rendered by host Tom Papa who lets the couple know of his decision via remote technology in their home. Did I mention Natalie Morales, of NBC's "Today" show, is also on set offering questionable facts about the matter being discussed?

Sunday night, the celebrity panel was Alec Baldwin, Seinfeld and Kelly Ripa, of the daytime syndicated show "Live with Regis and Kelly."

As for the couples, one involved a man who wanted his pet dog of 14 years that had just died stuffed and placed in a grotto in the home. The woman hated the dog in life and was glad to see it die, she said. With the other couple, the husband wanted to install a stripper pole in the bedroom so his wife, a former dancer, could dance for him. She was not so inclined.

Both couples were hamming it up for the cameras shamelessly when they talked about their differences. And they seemed more like not very imaginative people trying to be funny the way they thought celebrities were funny on TV than anyone you could be interested in. It was kind of pathetic.

As for the celebrities, it was one of those shows that you could gauge how funny it wasn't by how much the celebrities were over-laughjing.

Who knew Seinfeld could be this un-funny and out of it as a producer?

And who knew NBC could be so crazy as to appear to clip the closing ceremonies of the Olympics so that a huge prime-time audience would see this flimsy production?

How did you feel about the abrupt cut from the Olympics to this wretched show?

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