LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Michael Richards says he wasn't sure if there was life after Kramer. Acting life, at least.

``At first I didn't really want to work,'' the former ``Seinfeld'' star said. ``There wasn't anything that was really exciting me. So I thought I was going to retire.''

After earning a reported $13 million on the hit ``show about nothing,'' Richards took it easy. He traveled, restored his home, read classic books by authors like Herman Melville and did little acting, outside of a role in the TNT version of ``David Copperfield.''

But he's back on NBC next month in ``The Michael Richards Show,'' playing a befuddled detective.

Some of the mannerisms are the same, but Richards told the Los Angeles Times for Sunday's editions he wants the audience to realize he won't simply rehash his ``Seinfeld'' role.

``I'm not the Kramer character,'' he said.