Director Rob Reiner, possibly the most leftwing-identified among Hollywood’s A-listed celebrities, told the Daily Beast last week that his most painful moment in relation to the Democrats’ Nov. 8 loss was realizing the man President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist and top adviser Steve Bannon has been earning residuals for years off of Reiner’s production company, Castle Rock Entertainment’s biggest winner ever, the very New-York Jewish series “Seinfeld.”
According to Reiner, whe co-founded Castle Rock in 1987, “we made a deal with Westinghouse Electric to put some equity into the company—I think it was around $48 million. In exchange, they had around a 15 percent piece of our company. At a certain point, in the ’90s, we went to sell our company to Ted Turner.”
Meanwhile, Westinghouse hired Steve Bannon to consult on the deal. “Part of the deal was that Westinghouse could either sell or hold on to whatever TV series we had,” Reiner explained. “At the time we had eight pilots, and one of them was Seinfeld. We didn’t know if it was going to be successful or not. But as payment, Bannon advised them to stay in and hold on to their profit participation in the series, and Westinghouse said, ‘Well, if you think it’s so good, why don’t you take a piece of this instead of us giving you a fee?’ And apparently that’s what Bannon did, and he wound up with a small piece of Seinfeld that he’s had forever.”
A few years later, when one of the most successful shows ever went into syndication, Bannon, like everyone else connected to it, made a mint.
“It’s horrible,” Rob Reiner said. “When I first heard about it, it made me sick. It makes me sick. Because I had no idea.”