Frasier’s lead, Kelsey Grammer, recently recalled how his first and second Cheers spinoffs made it to television.
Grammer, 68, is in the midst of an encore Frasier series at the moment. Season 1 is in full speed on Paramount+ and enjoying high ratings among audiences, which is all thanks to the original series that debuted in 1993.
The first show focuses on Dr. Frasier Crane, a renowned psychiatrist who hosts a call-in radio series for people who are struggling with their mental well-being. The doctor was introduced to television in 1984, during the Cheers Season 3 premiere. He began as one of Diane’s love interests, but fans enjoyed him so much that he became a staple character.
When Cheers concluded in 1993, Grammer moved into pre-production with another Paramount series. But some thought Frasier could be popular enough to man his own project, and with the style of sitcoms at the time, Grammer thought they were onto something.
“Once Cheers ended the first time, I thought, “Well, Frasier’s done now. It’s good, we’ll move on to do something else.” I had a deal with Paramount to go to a different show,” he told Variety earlier this week. “And we worked on that for a while. And then everybody suggested that maybe it’d be best to continue Frasier, in a different world. And that turned out pretty well.”
The ‘Frasier’ Reboot Was Decades in the Making
Frasier, of course, became a massive hit. In all, it ran for 11 years and amassed an impressive 37 Primetime Emmys. With that kind of response, a second spinoff or continuation was on the table as soon as the series finale aired. While it didn’t happen instantly, Grammer and the creators never let the idea die.
“Once the show Frasier ended, there was some talk to continue for a while, maybe add another year or two. I talked to [then-NBC head] Jeff Zucker at the time. He told me that Joey was what they’d put their eggs in that basket. And they said that was the next Frasier. And I said, “Well, okay, good for you. And off you go.” It turned out fine. I liked the idea of ending something. And then it came up a decade or so later. Somebody was saying, “What would Frasier be up to?’ And I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s an interesting idea.’ And so, it started percolating, maybe a decade ago, honestly about what that could look like.”
When Roseanne came back with rave reviews, Kelsey Grammer realized his character would likely be just as welcome on the small screen. Tim Allen was also a star, and his series Home Improvement had been popular with Frasier fans, so the concept of the 2023 revival really started moving.
“We were all sort of on the same wavelength back then,” he said of the two 1990s shows. “And I thought this might actually bear some fruit if we do it the right way. It had to be right though. It had to have contemporary value. And so, we started hatching the plan.”
Frasier is available on Paramount +, with new episodes streaming every Thursday.
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