When the Research Says No, but Your Instincts Say Yes

A guide to creative decision-making in risk-averse times

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In October 1989, NBC executives received the test results for a new sitcom—and they were bleak. The show was simultaneously “ordinary” and “unbelievable,” “familiar” and “disorienting.” As a result, “no segment of the audience was eager to watch the show again.”

Most networks passed on it, including NBC. Still, there were a handful of executives who saw potential in the program, enough to reverse course and scrape together funding for a four-episode initial run.

And so, Seinfeld was born.

Of course, in hindsight, it was a brilliant decision.



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This story first appeared in the Nov. 21, 2022, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.