Frasier title screen from the pilot episode, "The Good Son", has a lit antenna spire at the Space Needle, one of animated gags.
|Created by||David Angell
David Hyde Pierce
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||11|
|No. of episodes||264 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Peter Casey
David Lee (both; entire run)
David Angell (seasons 1–8)
(seasons 2–8 and 11)
Kelsey Grammer (seasons 6–11)
Joe Keenan (seasons 6–7 and 11)
Dan O'Shannon (seasons 8–10)
Mark Reisman (season 8)
Rob Hanning (season 9–10)
Sam Johnson and
Lori Kirkland Baker
(all; seasons 10–11)
|Camera setup||Film; Multi-camera|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Grub Street Productions
Grammnet Productions (season 11)
Paramount Network Television
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV; NTSC in US broadcasts, shown in PAL or NTSC in international syndication)
1080i (HDTV; seasons 10–11)
|Original run||September 16, 1993– May 13, 2004|
|Related shows||The Tortellis|
Frasier is an American sitcom that was broadcast on NBC for eleven seasons from September 16, 1993, to May 13, 2004. The program was created and produced by David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee (as Grub Street Productions) in association with Grammnet (2004) and Paramount Network Television.
A spin-off of Cheers, Frasier starred Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, John Mahoney, Jane Leeves, Peri Gilpin, and Moose. It was one of the most successful spin-off series in television history, as well as one of the most critically acclaimed comedy series.
Psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane (Grammer) returns to his hometown of Seattle, Washington, following the end of his marriage and his life in Boston (as seen in Cheers). His plans for a new life as a bachelor are complicated when he is obliged to take in his father, Martin (Mahoney), a retired Seattle Police Department detective, who has mobility problems after being shot in the line of duty during a robbery. Frasier hires Daphne Moon (Leeves), as Martin's live-in physical therapist and care giver, and tolerates Martin's dog Eddie (Moose). Frasier's younger brother Niles (Pierce), a fellow psychiatrist, frequently visits. Niles becomes infatuated with, and eventually falls in love with, Daphne, but does not confess his feelings to her until the final episode of the seventh season.
Frasier hosts The Dr. Frasier Crane Show on talk radio station KACL. His producer Roz Doyle (Gilpin) is very different from Frasier in taste and temperament, but over time they become close friends. Frasier and the others often visit the local coffee shop, Café Nervosa.
The Crane sons, who possess fine tastes, intellectual interests, and high opinions of themselves, frequently clash with their blue-collar, down-to-earth father. The brothers' close relationship is often turbulent, and their sibling rivalry intermittently results in chaos. Other recurring themes include the breakdown of Niles' marriage to the never-seen Maris, Frasier's search for love, Martin's new life after retirement, and the various attempts by the two brothers to gain acceptance into Seattle's cultural elite.
- Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), a radio psychiatrist
- Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce), Frasier's younger brother, also a psychiatrist, who works in private practice
- Martin Crane (John Mahoney), Frasier and Niles's father, a police officer who was forced to retire because of a gunshot wound to his hip that led to his living with Frasier.
- Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves), an English physiotherapist, hired by Frasier to help take care of Martin, who lives with them in Frasier's apartment.
- Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin), the producer of Frasier's radio show, who becomes a close family friend
- Eddie (Moose), Martin's Jack Russell Terrier
The lead actors were with the show for all of its 11 years. Grammer was briefly the highest paid television actor in the United States for his portrayal of Frasier, while Jane Leeves was the highest paid British actress. Following his many appearances in Cheers, Grammer tied the record for the longest running character in prime time, equaling James Arness' twenty years as Marshal Dillon on Gunsmoke. This was surpassed by the principal cast of The Simpsons, although Grammer and Arness still hold the record in live action series.
In addition to those of the ensemble, additional storylines included characters from Frasier's former incarnation on Cheers, such as his ex-wife Lilith Sternin, played by Bebe Neuwirth. Other characters included Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe, played by Dan Butler, the host of a radio sports show that aired following Frasier's show.
Three of the main cast members reunited in an episode of The Simpsons. Grammer reprised his role for the tenth time as Sideshow Bob, Pierce reprised his role for the second time as Sideshow Bob's brother, Cecil Terwilliger, and Mahoney appeared as Cecil and Bob's father, Dr. Robert Terwilliger, in the episode "Funeral for a Fiend".
Cast member reunions have also occurred on four episodes of Hot in Cleveland, which currently features Leeves and Wendie Malick (who played Martin's girlfriend, then wife, Ronee Lawrence Crane) among the show's principal cast. In the Season 2 episode "Unseparated at Birth" and Season 3 episode "Funeral Crashers", Mahoney guest stars as a waiter smitten with Betty White's character, Gilpin appears in the episode "I Love Lucci (Part 1)", and Tom McGowan (who played Kenny Daly) appears in "Love Thy Neighbor" as a casting director. Hot in Cleveland is also produced by Suzanne Martin, who wrote multiple episodes of Frasier.
As Cheers approached its last season in 1993, Grammer approached David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee. The actor had enjoyed his appearance on an episode of the three men's Wings, and hoped that they could create a new show for him. Grammer did not originally want to continue playing Frasier Crane, and Angell, Casey, and Lee did not want the new show to be compared to Cheers, which they had worked on before Wings. The three proposed that the actor play a wealthy, Malcolm Forbes-like paraplegic publisher with a "street smart" Hispanic live-in nurse. While Grammer liked the concept, Paramount Television disliked it because it was unrelated to the enormously popular Cheers. Although Grammer agreed to star in a Cheers spin-off, the producers set the new show as far from Boston as possible to prevent NBC from demanding that other characters from the old show make guest appearances on the new show during its first season. After first choosing Denver, Angell, Casey, and Lee ultimately chose Seattle as the setting.
The creators did not want Frasier in private practice so the show would not resemble The Bob Newhart Show, and conceived the idea of the psychiatrist working in a radio station surrounded by "wacky, yet loveable" characters. After finding that such a setting resembled WKRP in Cincinnati, Lee's experiences with caring for an aging parent very different from the son caused the creators to emphasize Frasier's home life and family history, which Cheers had rarely explored, and "the relationship between an aging father and the grown-up son he never understood."
Originally there was to be no brother because Frasier told his bar friends at Cheers he was an only child. After a casting director noticed Pierce's resemblance to Grammer, the creators were "blown away" by his acting ability and created a role for him. Martin Crane is based on creator Casey's father, who spent 34 years with the San Francisco Police Department; Grammer, who lost his father as a child, and the childless Mahoney immediately built a close father-son relationship. NBC suggested Martin's nurse be English instead of Hispanic as it favored Leeves for the role. Grammer was initially reluctant as he thought the casting made the show resemble Nanny and the Professor, but approved Leeves after a read-through with her. The only main role that required auditions was Roz Doyle, named in memory of a producer of Wings. She was originally to be played by Lisa Kudrow, but during rehearsals, it became apparent that she did not fit the role. The creators quickly hired Gilpin, their second choice. Later, Frasier's cunning, no-holds-barred agent Bebe Glazer, played by Harriet Sansom Harris, was added.
As Pierce's role as Niles became a breakout character, focus shifted to the brothers' relationship. The cast had an unusual amount of freedom to suggest changes to the script. Grammer used an acting method he called "requisite disrespect" and did not rehearse with the others, instead learning and rehearsing his lines once just before filming each scene in front of a live studio audience. Although effective, the system often caused panic among guest stars. In 1996 Grammer's recurrent alcoholism led to a car accident; the cast and crew performed an intervention that persuaded him to enter the Betty Ford Clinic, delaying production for a month.
The radio station callers' lines were spoken by anonymous voice-over actors while filming the show in front of a live audience. This gave the cast something to which they could react. During post-production, the lines were replaced by celebrities, who literally phoned in their parts without having to come into the studio. The end credits of season finales showed headshots of all the celebrities who had "called in" that season.
The closing credits for each episode features the song "Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs", sung by Grammer. Composer Bruce Miller, who had also composed for Wings, was asked to avoid explicitly mentioning any subjects related to the show such as radio or psychiatry. After Miller finished the music, lyricist Darryl Phinnesse suggested the title as they were things that were, like Frasier Crane's patients, "mixed up". The lyrics indirectly refer to Crane's radio show; "I hear the blues a-callin", for example, refers to troubled listeners who call the show. A short, silent skit appears with the credits and song, which the actors performed without written dialogue based on the scriptwriter's suggestion. Season finales were the exception, usually showing black-and-white photos of guest callers.
In the last episode of the final season, in which Frasier's father Martin marries and moves out, the last possession of Martin's to leave the apartment was the venerable green plaid, duct-taped recliner. In an understated bit of symmetry, the same actor (wearing the same red plaid shirt) who delivered the tattered chair in episode one, season one also removes the chair from Frasier's apartment. Immediately afterwards, Frasier rearranges his furniture and briefly feels relieved that his life is finally back to normal after 11 years, but then realizes the price for never compromising is an empty life of solitude. Martin hints at the same conclusion, a little later, when he admits that the Eames recliner would have been great. In the end, Frasier accepts the risks inherent in compromise and affection by following his love interest to Chicago instead of taking a secure job in San Francisco.
No building or apartment in Seattle really has the view from Frasier's residence. It was created so the Space Needle would appear more prominently. According to the Season 1 DVD bonus features, the photograph used on the set was taken from atop a cliff, possibly the ledge at Kerry Park, a frequent photography location. Despite this, Frasier has been said to have contributed to the emergence of an upscale urban lifestyle in 1990s Seattle, with buyers seeking properties in locations resembling that depicted in the show, in search of "that cosmopolitan feel of Frasier".
The title card of each episode shows the Seattle skyline being drawn in white over the show's title against a black backdrop, frequently with an added element such as a helicopter lifting off or a cloud moving in to rain on the buildings. The color of the title changed at the beginning of each season. For the openings, composer Miller created about 25 brief pieces of music in the style of the closing song.
Relationship to Cheers
With the exception of Kirstie Alley (Rebecca Howe), all the surviving main regular cast members of Cheers made appearances on Frasier, but Bebe Neuwirth (Lilith Sternin) was the only one to become a recurring character.
Some cast members of Frasier had appeared previously in minor roles on Cheers. In the episode "Do Not Forsake Me, O' My Postman" (1992), John Mahoney played Sy Flembeck, an over-the-hill advertising executive hired by Rebecca to write a jingle for the bar. In it, Grammer and Mahoney exchanged a few lines. Peri Gilpin appeared in a Cheers episode titled "Woody Gets an Election" playing a reporter who interviews Woody when he runs for office.
In the eighth-season Cheers episode "Two Girls for Every Boyd", Frasier tells Sam Malone (played by Ted Danson) that his father, a research scientist, had died. In the Frasier Season 2 episode "The Show Where Sam Shows Up", when Sam meets Martin, Frasier explains that at the time, he was angry after an argument with his father on the phone. In "The Show Where Woody Shows Up", when meeting Martin, Woody says he remembers hearing about him, probably from Sam talking about his experiences in Seattle when he returned to Boston.
In the ninth-season episode, "Cheerful Goodbyes" in 2002, Frasier returns to Boston to give a speech and Niles, Daphne and Martin come along to see the city. Frasier runs into Cliff Clavin (played by John Ratzenberger) at the airport and learns that Cliff is retiring and moving to Florida. Frasier and company attend Cliff's retirement party where Frasier reunites with the rest of the gang from Cheers (minus Sam, Woody and Rebecca), including bar regular Norm Peterson (played by George Wendt), waitress Carla Tortelli (played by Rhea Perlman), barflies Paul Krapence (played by Paul Willson) and Phil (played by Philip Perlman) and Cliff's old post office nemesis Walt Twitchell (played by Raye Birk).
In the eleventh-season episode of Frasier, "Caught in the Act", Frasier's married ex-wife, children's entertainer Nanny G, comes to town and invites him backstage for a rendezvous. Nanny G appeared on the Cheers episode "One Hugs, The Other Doesn't" (1992) and was portrayed by Emma Thompson. In this episode of Frasier she is portrayed by Laurie Metcalf. She also appeared in the second episode of Season 9 of Frasier, "Don Juan in Hell: Part 2" and was played by Dina Waters.
The set of Frasier itself was built over the set of Cheers on the same stage after it had finished filming. The producers of Frasier made certain there were no stools in the coffee shop in order to distance it visually from the Cheers bar.
Critics and commentators broadly held Frasier in high regard, with acclaim fading in the later seasons. Caroline Frost said that the series overall showed a high level of wit, but noted that many critics felt that the marriage of Daphne and Niles in season ten had removed much of the show's comic tension. Ken Tucker felt that their marriage made the series seem desperate for storylines, while Robert Bianco felt that it was symptomatic of a show that had begun to dip in quality after so much time on the air. Kelsey Grammer acknowledged the creative lull, saying that over the course of two later seasons the show "took itself too seriously". Commentators do, however, acknowledge that there was an improvement following the return of the writers Christopher Lloyd and Joe Keenan, although not necessarily to its earlier high standards.
Writing about the first season, John O'Connor described Frasier as being a relatively unoriginal concept, but said that it was generally a "splendid act", while Tucker thought that the second season benefited greatly from a mix of "high and low humor". Tucker's comment is referring to what Grammer described as a rule of the series that the show should not play down to its audience. Kevin Cherry believes that Frasier was able to stay fresh by not making any contemporary commentary, therefore allowing the show to be politically and socially neutral. Other commentators, such as Haydn Bush disagree, believing the success of Frasier can be attributed to the comedic timing and the chemistry between the characters.
In spite of the criticisms of the later seasons, these critics were unanimous in praising at least the early seasons, with varied commentary on the series' demise ranging from believing, like Bianco, that the show had run its course to those like Dana Stevens who bemoaned the end of Frasier as the "end of situation comedy for adults". Many critics compared misunderstanding moments of the series, especially in later seasons, to another sitcom Three's Company. NBC News contributor Wendell Wittler called the misunderstanding moments "inspired by the classic comedies of manners as were the frequent deflations of Frasier’s pomposity."
Frasier is one of the most successful spin-off series in television history and one of the most critically acclaimed comedy series of all time. The series has won a total of 37 Primetime Emmy Awards during its 11-year run, breaking the record long held by The Mary Tyler Moore Show (29). Grammer and Pierce each won four, including one each for the fifth and eleventh seasons. The series holds the record for the most consecutive wins for Outstanding Comedy Series, winning five from 1994 to 1998.
Grammer has been Emmy-nominated for playing Frasier Crane on Cheers and Frasier, as well as a 1992 crossover appearance on Wings, making him the only performer to be nominated for playing the same role on three different shows. The first year Grammer did not receive an Emmy nomination for Frasier was in 2003 for the tenth season. However, Pierce was nominated every year of the show's run, breaking the record for nominations in his category, with his eighth nomination in 2001; he was nominated a further three times after this.
Paramount Home Entertainment and (from 2006 onward) CBS DVD have released all 11 seasons of Frasier on DVD in Region 1, 2 and 4. A 44-disc package containing the entire 11 seasons has also been released.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|The Complete 1st Season||24 each||May 20, 2003||November 24, 2003||January 13, 2004|
|The Complete 2nd Season||January 6, 2004||June 7, 2004||June 3, 2004|
|The Complete 3rd Season||May 25, 2004||September 6, 2004||September 10, 2004|
|The Complete 4th Season||February 1, 2005||July 18, 2005||July 20, 2005|
|The Complete 5th Season||June 7, 2005||November 27, 2006||January 11, 2007|
|The Complete 6th Season||September 13, 2005||May 14, 2007||May 3, 2007|
|The Complete 7th Season||November 15, 2005||July 9, 2007||July 12, 2007|
|The Complete 8th Season||June 13, 2006||February 4, 2008||February 14, 2008|
|The Complete 9th Season||May 15, 2007||April 28, 2008||July 31, 2008|
|The Complete 10th Season||December 11, 2007||July 28, 2008||November 6, 2008|
|The Complete 11th & Final Season||November 16, 2004||September 15, 2008||January 15, 2009|
|The Complete Series||264||December 11, 2007||October 6, 2008||July 30, 2009|
The first four seasons were also released on VHS along with a series of 'Best Of' tapes. These tapes consisted of four episodes taken from seasons 1–4. No more video releases have been announced.
|Video Name||Release date|
|The Best of Frasier 1 – From Boston To Seattle||1999|
|The Best of Frasier 2 – Crane Vs. Crane||1999|
|The Best of Frasier 3 – Serial Dater||1999|
|The Best of Frasier 4 – Like Father Like Sons||1999|
|The Best of Frasier 5 – Brotherly Love||1999|
|The Best of Frasier 6 – Love Is in the Air||1999|
|The Best of Frasier Box Set||1999|
|The Complete 1st Season||July 16, 2001|
|The Complete 2nd Season||December 3, 2001|
|Season 3 – Part 1||May 6, 2002|
|Season 3 – Part 2||July 1, 2002|
|Season 4 – Part 1||October 14, 2002|
|Season 4 – Part 2||November 18, 2002|
One Frasier CD has been released featuring a number of songs taken from the show.
|CD Name||Release date|
|Tossed Salads & Scrambled Eggs||October 24, 2000|
Several books about Frasier have been released, including the following:
|The Best of Frasier||Channel 4 Books||ISBN 0-7522-1394-6|
|Cafe Nervosa: The Connoisseur's Cookbook||Oxmoor House||ISBN 0-8487-1550-0|
|Frasier||Pocket Books||ISBN 0-671-00368-2|
|The Frasier Scripts||Newmarket Press||ISBN 1-55704-403-1|
|Goodnight Seattle||Virgin Books||ISBN 0-7535-0286-0|
|Goodnight Seattle II||Virgin Books||ISBN 0-7535-0717-X|
|What's Your "Frasier" IQ: 501 Questions and Answers for Fans||Carol Publishing||ISBN 0-8065-1732-8|
|The Very Best of Frasier||Channel 4 Books||ISBN 0-7522-6179-7|
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- Frasier Online Episode Guide: Episode 2.16 – The Show Where Sam Shows Up
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