The "Seinfeld" star takes on three NBC shows this fall

By Bruce Fretts
October 08, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

NBC watchers are going to see more of Wayne Knight than ever this fall—and less. The well-rounded Knight has roles on three Peacock series—Seinfeld, The Second Half, and Against the Grain—and has recently lost 40 pounds. ”I used to smoke, drink, and eat a lot, with a family history of heart disease,” says Knight, 38. ”So I didn’t buy any calendars. Now I’m long-range-planning to next week.”

Knight’s new look is paying off: Unlike Newman, the ”two-legged weasel” he occasionally plays on Seinfeld, Knight’s regular role as a newspaper editor on the John Mendoza sitcom The Second Half (Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m.) allows him to ”dress well and kiss pretty girls,” says Knight. ”Mendoza is my god now.”

For his recurring role on Grain (Fridays, 8 p.m.) as a high school football booster in a tiny Texas town, Knight draws on experience. As a lineman on his Cartersville, Ga., high school team, Knight was once informed by a referee that he had been offside for an entire game. ”You’re supposed to get down and set,” he recalls. ”And I’m out there a-jigglin’-and-wigglin’.”

As if three TV series weren’t enough, Knight also has a blossoming big-screen career. His gluttonous computer hacker in Jurassic Park may have ended up in a dinosaur’s jaws, but Knight theorizes hopefully that he could still be around for the sequel. ”That was a small dinosaur and a big meal,” Knight says. ”It might have only had a little bit and gotten full.”

Knight has also appeared in JFK (a film he parodied on Seinfeld), Dead Again (with his old friend from the early-’80s BBC series Assaulted Nuts, Emma Thompson), and Basic Instinct (interrogating a pantyless Sharon Stone). ”My genitals were out in the scene,” Knight jokes. ”Luckily, they chose not to show them.”

Though more weight loss could make him less recognizable, Knight doesn’t care. ”I’d no longer be known as ‘that fat guy,”’ he says. ”There’s nothing wrong with ‘Hey, look, there’s that guy that blends in with the crowd!’ ”