Kelsey Grammer, the actor who played Dr. Frasier Crane in the hit NBC sitcoms “Cheers” and “Frasier,” is paying tribute to his former co-star Kirstie Alley, who died last December after a battle with colon cancer. Grammer and Alley appeared together in six seasons of “Cheers” as Frasier Crane and bar manager Rebecca Howe, respectively.
Despite the fact that Rebecca Howe never appeared in “Frasier,” which is set to be revived on Paramount+ later this year, Grammer says that Alley’s spirit will still be present in the new version of the show. He has reportedly told the writers of the new series that if they can find a character who can do what Alley did in “Cheers,” they will be very fortunate.
Grammer has nothing but praise for Alley’s performance on “Cheers,” describing her as a “magnificent person” who gave a “wonderful performance.” He recalls how Alley joined the show in its sixth season, replacing original cast member Shelley Long, who had left the show. “They brought in this new girl, Kirstie, and she lit up the room,” he says. “There was one ‘Cheers’ episode (in Season 11) where Frasier and Rebecca ended up in bed together, which was really funny. I just adored her.”
“Frasier” was a ratings sensation during its original run, drawing more than 25 million viewers for its series finale. Grammer says that there was briefly talk of doing another season or two, but contractual issues with the show’s writers ultimately led to the decision to end the show after 11 seasons. “It’s all I ever wanted – 11 seasons was a perfect number, because ‘Cheers’ had 11 seasons. That’s where that came from,” he explains.
The upcoming revival of “Frasier” has been described by Grammer as the character’s “fourth act.” After leaving Seattle for Chicago in the “Frasier” series finale, Frasier is now back in Boston, where “Cheers” was set. While original cast members such as David Hyde Pierce (who played Frasier’s brother Niles) won’t be returning for the new series, the show will introduce new characters, including Alan Cornwall (Nicholas Lyndhurst), a university professor and Frasier’s college friend. Grammer is excited about the prospect of exploring Frasier’s new friendship, saying that “His chief relationship was really with his brother in the previous show, and Niles is not going to be part of it. So I’m very excited about the idea that he actually has an equal: a person who’s his pal.”