Will she fare better than her ''Seinfeld'' brethren?
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Credit: Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Jeff Slocomb/Corbis Outline

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, get ready for your close-up. Despite last year’s high-profile flop of ”The Michael Richards Show” and the so-far-so-painful debut of Jason Alexander’s sitcom ”Bob Patterson,” NBC is still betting that a ”Seinfeld” alum can boost its comedy lineup come March. The Peacock has ordered 12 episodes of Louis-Dreyfus’ sitcom ”23:12” (not to be confused with the Fox drama ”24”), in which the ex-Elaine stars as a lounge singer?cum?voice-over artist living in L.A. Unlike her predecessors’ shows, early buzz has been good for Louis-Dreyfus’ comedy, which will be shot in real time (the title refers to the length of an episode, minus commercials). ”Out of those three, she’s definitely the star,” says a source close to the show, on why Louis-Dreyfus’ fate will be different from Richards’ and Alexander’s. NBC topper Jeff Zucker certainly feels like he got the pick of the crop (he passed on Alexander’s pitch for ”Patterson” before ABC picked it up) and has no fears of a ”Seinfeld” curse. ”Clearly, the audience gave Michael a chance — the show opened to very big numbers,” says Zucker of Richards’ fall 2000 premiere, which attracted 15.2 million viewers. ”I think everyone gets a shot if you promote it and position it correctly. I’m not worried about it. No question, Julia is a huge, lovable TV star, and I think people would love to see her back.” Just as long as she keeps those floral skirts and two-toned loafers locked away.

(Additional reporting by William Keck, Robert Schwartz, and Dan Snierson)

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