The Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Ambivalent Timeline Leading Up to Season 9 of Curb Your Enthusiasm

Photo: HBO

When it was announced earlier this month that HBO darling Curb Your Enthusiasm would be returning to the network for a ninth season, an onslaught of, well, enthusiasm naturally ensued. And with good reason — Larry David’s original comedy has been a ratings and critical success since its debut, in 2000, further advancing the comedic genre with its fictionalized versions of people and virtuoso use of improvisation. If you have been closely following David and his inner circle since the eighth season ended, in 2011, Curb’s return to the small screen has arguably always been destined to happen — although there were certainly a few bumps along the way. Here, we’ve outlined the brief timeline of David and his fellow collaborators discussing the potential, slow-burning return of the show. Reheat some Palestinian chicken and read up.

July 2011
In the midst of the show’s eighth season, former HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Deadline that a ninth season looked quite promising. “We’re cautiously optimistic,” he said. “For the first time ever after this season, Larry didn’t say ‘I never want to do this again.’”

July 2013
Appearing at the Television Critics Association summer press tour to promote his other project for HBO, the comedy film Clear History, various reporters asked David about season nine. "I don't know. I really don't know. I couldn't say. Ask me in six months," he told the crowd. "I'm just an indecisive fella. You should see me at a restaurant ... I’m lazy."

July 2014
During a summer network press tour, Lombardo told reporters at a presentation that he and David had recently crossed paths and discussed the future of the show. “I said, ‘So, David, should I emotionally get Curb out of my head?’ And he goes, ‘No, no, no, no, no,’” Lombardo said. “As long as [David’s] thinking about it, we still have a place for it.”

September 2014
Attending a Citi Presents for a conversation between himself and comedian David Steinberg, David was prompted during the Q&A session to discuss Curb’s future. “After eight seasons on Curb, I’m just not sure my ideas are gonna be good enough for a whole season,” David said, before adding a bit more optimistically, “I haven’t given up the hope."

December 2014
In an interview with Bill Simmons for Grantland, David suggested that the “odds would be against” the show returning, the specific probability being “6 to 1,” with Seinfeld being a driving factor behind the reasoning. “Well, you know, I got so much grief from the Seinfeld finale, which a lot of people intensely disliked, that I no longer feel a need to wrap things up,” David said. “I wouldn’t say I’m mad about it, but it taught me a lesson that if I ever did another show, I wasn’t going to wrap it up.”

July 2015
At yet another Television Critics Association summer press tour for HBO, Lombardo recalled in front of reporters a recent meeting he had with David before the premiere of his play, Fish in the Dark, in New York City. At that meeting, David pulled out a notebook and said: “Do you know what this is? This is the ‘next season’ notebook.” “I don’t think it’s out of his system,” Lombardo continued. “When he has something to say, he will come back. I certainly see this as a continuing dialogue with him — a long one, but a continuing one.”

August 2015
During a panel pegged to his ABC comedy The Goldbergs, Jeff Garlin, who plays David’s affable agent on the show, said that there was a “51 percent chance” of Curb returning to the air. “Larry David is so goddamned rich he doesn’t have to do anything unless it’s good,” he said. Garlin also expounded on David’s two-step creative process. Step one: “Uhhh, I got an idea, I think I’m gonna write the show.” Step two: After he’s written six or seven episodes, he says, “Yeah, I’ll finish it.”

Early June 2016
J.B. Smoove, who portrays Leon Black on the show, appeared on The Rich Eisen Show and the conversation soon turned to a recent phone exchange between Black and David. "[David] starts off with his little, 'Ehhhhh, you know, I'm thinking about coming back.' But see, that's great because he has not said 'no,' which puts us in a great position for possibilities ... that means it's still going," Smoove said. "If Larry does not say no, there's a possibility he may say yes. And then he went extra. He said, 'If I do come back, would you be available?' I said, 'You know something, Larry, I'll be available. Just call me, give me early notice, and I'll be there.' I'll move anything to the side for Curb Your Enthusiasm, which would be a fabulous thing to do.”