It was officially announced, as a part of ViacomCBS’s Investor’s Day presentation on Wednesday, that 90s’ sitcom Frasier will be receiving a reboot at the streaming service. Kelsey Grammer (Cheers, Frasier), who has championed a reboot of the sitcom for many years, will return to the role of psychiatrist and radio personality Frasier Crane on-screen, in addition to serving as executive produce off-screen, according to Variety.
View this post on Instagram
Frasier, a spin-off of Cheers, ran for eleven successful seasons on NBC from 1993 to 2004. According to Variety, the sitcom racked up “37 Emmy Awards over the course of its 11 seasons and 264 episodes on NBC”. The popularity of the series continued after Frasier Crane left the building in 2004, thanks to streaming and syndication. The Guardian specifically mentions the series’ UK fanbase, that accumulated as a result of Frasier’s Channel 4 re-runs.
View this post on Instagram
Notable fans of the series include filmmaker Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma) and writer Matt Mira (The Goldbergs, @midnight), who once hosted a Frasier podcast called Talk Salad and Scrambled Eggs. Frasier has likewise inspired several books, such as Frasier: A Cultural History, a line of Funko Pop figures and even a nerdcore rap tribute from Adam WarRock.
CBS president David Stapf says of the reboot: “there has long been a call from fans for its return, and that call is now answered” (NBC News). As a result of the Frasier’s popularity, the reboot will serve as a “flagship offering” from CBS All Access’ re-branded streaming service Paramount+, via CNN. NBC News notes Frasier‘s contribution to the current television trend of rebooting decades-old series with built-in audiences, particularly as an incentive to bolster subscriptions at new streaming services.
However, the anticipated excitement for Wednesday’s news was slightly hampered by the fact that, aside from Grammer, no members of Frasier‘s original cast are yet attached to the project. The original series surrounded Frasier Crane with beloved characters that included David Hyde Pierce (Frasier, Wet Hot American Summer) as Niles Crane, John Mahoney (Frasier, Moonstruck) as Martin Crane, Jane Leeves (Frasier, Hot in Cleveland) as Daphne Moon, Peri Gilpin (Frasier, Make It of Break It) as Roz Doyle, and Moose as Frasier’s dog Eddie. Unfortunately, both Mahoney and Moose have passed away in the seventeen years that Frasier’s been off the air.
According to The Guardian, fans hoping for a return of Leeves’ Daphne Moon in the Frasier reboot should temper their expectations. Back when conversations about a reboot were purely hypothetical, Leeves was quoted saying: “I won’t be leaving The Resident to do that if it happens” (The Guardian). Though it sounds as though Leeves is committed to her role as Kit Voss on Fox medical drama The Resident, it’s still possible that Paramount+ could lure Daphne Moon back, now that the reboot is officially moving forward.
— Variety (@Variety) February 24, 2021
Dr. Niles Crane, and his brotherly dynamic with Frasier, is one of the most beloved elements of Frasier. Fans online are going as far as to say that a reboot of the series would not be worthwhile if Hyde Pierce does not join to reprise the iconic role. Fortunately, Deadline reports that Hyde Pierce is being pursued by Grammer and fellow executive producers Chris Harris (Top Gear), Joe Cristalli (Life in Pieces, Perfect Harmony), Tom Russo (Light as a Feather, The Salon) and Jordan McMahon (Light as a Feather, You’re Not a Monster).
In digging up Grammer’s past pitches for a Frasier reboot, The Guardian argues that Hyde Pierce’s inclusion would be an essential component in executing Grammer’s vision. Grammer has previously stated that a Frasier reboot will take the character out of Seattle and off the radio, possibly opening up a private psychiatric practice or teaching at a collegiate level. Whatever path Frasier follows, Grammer notes that it should “put him at odds with his brother again” (The Guardian).
Up until Wednesday, Grammer had only discussed a Frasier reboot as mere speculation. All that Grammer has been willing to say about the story, now that the news has officially broken, is that the series will document “the next chapter in the continuing journey of Dr. Frasier Crane” (NBC News).
Playing Frasier Crane across the series Cheers, Frasier and Wings, Grammer ties the record for the longest-running character on television with Mariska Hargitay’s (Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit, Lake Placid) Law & Order character Olivia Benson, according to Screen Rant. Depending on the success of Frasier’s reboot, Grammer could end up challenging Hargitay for the title.
There’s no news yet as to when the Frasier reboot will be available to Paramount+ subscribers, as the series remains in early development and Grammer is currently contracted to co-star in a multi-cam sitcom alongside Alec Baldwin (30 Rock, Glengarry Glen Ross). Deadline predicts that the reboot will get properly underway until in 2022, though mentions that both Cheers and the original Frasier catalogue will be available to stream on Paramount+.