Julia Louis-Dreyfus Ready for the Heat

01/10/2002 at 12:00 PM EST

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is in the hot seat. After the failures of sitcoms starring the other "Seinfeld" costars, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander, the actress who played the often-abrasive Elaine on the popular sitcom about nothing is coming up to the plate. Next month, Louis-Dreyfus, 40, debuts in the new NBC comedy "Watching Ellie," Tuesday at 8:30 on NBC. She knows what's at stake. At a gathering of TV reporters in Los Angeles on Wednesday, she said, "There's pressure involved with this, regardless of the past successes or failures of my friends Jason and Michael. It's hard to do anything well, and that's something I'm keenly aware of. I put pressure on myself, too, I want to do a good job, and I want this show to be a success." She admitted, as well, "I don't think NBC would have taken such a chance on this new show if we hadn't have been so successful on 'Seinfeld.'" In the new program, Louis-Dreyfus plays a single L.A. lounge singer who is harried and unlucky at love. The show was developed by her husband, former "Saturday Night Live" performer Brad Hall, who is serving as executive producer. (He produced the critically well-received "Brooklyn Bridge" series, though it was not a ratings hit.) Last weekend, Jerry Seinfeld, 47, speaking on stage in Washington, where he was doing his comedy act, was asked by a member of the audience whether or not there would ever be a "Seinfeld" reunion. The comic said the chances of that will be more likely once the careers of all four stars go down the tubes. As Seinfeld said, "Two down, and two to go."

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