Kelsey Grammer 'gleefully anticipates' reboot of Frasier

Mark Brown and Hannah J Davies
·4-min read
<span>Photograph: Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Getty Images

The tossed salads and scrambled eggs are calling again and Frasier is coming back in the building, it has been announced, with the return of one of television’s most successful sitcoms.

A reboot of Frasier has been ordered by the new US streaming service Paramount+ with Kelsey Grammer returning to the title role, one he debuted as Diane’s new boyfriend in an episode of Cheers in 1984.

Frasier made Grammer and fellow cast members huge stars, their foibles and quirks known intimately by different generations of British viewers thanks to endless, but eagerly lapped up, repeats on Channel 4.

“Having spent over 20 years of my creative life on the Paramount lot, both producing shows and performing in several, I’d like to congratulate Paramount+ on its entry into the streaming world,” said Grammer. “I gleefully anticipate sharing the next chapter in the continuing journey of Dr Frasier Crane.”

David Stapf, the president of CBS Studios, which will make the show, said Frasier was “one of the most acclaimed comedies in modern television history and truly defines premium storytelling”.

“There has long been a call from fans for its return, and that call is now answered,” he said.

Little detail has been revealed about the show, beyond the fact that Grammer will reprise his role and serve as executive producer.

Many fans argued on social media that the show would not be the same if it did not include Crane’s neurotic brother Niles, played by David Hyde Pierce, physical therapist Daphne, played by Jane Leeves, or producer Roz, played by Peri Gilpin.

Circumstance means there can be no return for his coarse but caring father, Martin Crane. The actor John Mahoney died in 2018. Nor for Eddie the wire-haired Jack Russell after the death of Moose in 2006.

Grammer has been teasing fans about Frasier’s return for a couple of years. He suggested in an ITV interview that the character might now be a professor or back in private psychiatry practice. He imagined the story would be “something that puts him at odds with his brother again” and also feature the relationship between Frasier and his son Frederick, now in his thirties.

He definitely will not be in Seattle, Grammer has said.

The final episode in 2004, Goodnight, Seattle, was about Frasier moving to a new and lucrative life working in television in San Francisco. The twist was him apparently putting love before his career and going to Chicago where his latest girlfriend Charlotte, played by Laura Linney, had just moved.

Leeves, a British actor who started out as one of Hill’s Angels on the now unwatchable Benny Hill Show, has suggested she will not be part of the revival.

She said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that she was committed to her role as the hospital boss and surgeon Kit Voss in the medical drama The Resident.

Asked about the possibility of a Frasier revival, she said: “I have no idea, but I won’t be leaving The Resident to do that if it happens.”

Frasier, which ran for 263 episodes between 1993 and 2004, was one of the most popular spin-off sitcoms in television history, and won 37 Emmy awards.

When it returns eyebrows will be raised if it is as overwhelmingly and jarringly white as it was in the 1990s, when it had no significant characters from black or minority ethnic backgrounds.

Guardian readers reacted with a mix of enthusiasm and apprehension to news of the reboot. Cristina Bran, a technology transformation manager in London, was one of a number of fans in their twenties to get in touch.

“Oh my God yes!” Bran, 29, said. “Frasier holds such a special spot in my heart as it was my go-to for comfort watching.”

Ella McKelvey, a 24-year-old MA student in Durham, was sceptical. “There is something so distinctly late-90s about the Frasier set and costuming. I actually think that was a pretty important feature of the show. It speaks to a very specific slice of American culture that I’m not sure exists any more.”

Bringing back sitcoms after long gaps is nothing new in either the US or the UK, with varying degrees of audience appetite and success.

Will & Grace returned after a ten year gap in 2017 and is still going strong. Roseanne came back after a 20 years but was soon mired in controversy after offensive tweets by its star Roseanne Barr. The show was hastily killed off and the result, The Conners, is now in its third series.

In Britain the 1960s Likely Lads returned as the 1970s Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads. Birds of a Feather was on the BBC until 1998 and returned on ITV in 2014. Open All Hours finished in 1985, but Still Open All Hours began in 2013 is still going.