Shortly after comedian Jerry Seinfeld ended his hit television show Seinfeld in 1998, he got married and started a family. And, like any average couple, Jerry says he and his wife, Jessica, occasionally disagree. But, while other couples' arguments may end in tears or broken china, one of Jerry and Jessica's disagreements sparked an idea for a funny new reality series—The Marriage Ref.
One day, Jerry says he and his wife started to argue about a long-forgotten topic in front of one of Jessica's friends. "The friend got uncomfortable because they could see something's happening, and this person said, 'Well, maybe I should just go,'" he says. "That's when I said: 'No, you stay. You stay, and you sort this out because I don't want to talk about it all night.'"
Jerry made his case, and Jessica made hers. Then, they asked their friend to call it and tell them who was right and who was wrong. "In five minutes, it was over," he says. "I said: 'That's what you need in marriage. You need a ref.' … And Jess said, 'That should be a TV show.'"
And that's exactly what it's become. As a co-producer and occasional guest judge, Jerry is taking America inside intimate battles between husbands and wives. Each week, couples state their cases to a panel of celebrities—which includes everyone from Alec Baldwin to Madonna—and they weigh in on who's right. But, the final call is made by the marriage ref himself, stand-up comedian Tom Papa.