The beloved sitcom Frasier may have ended in 2004, but it has certainly lived on thanks to its constant reruns — the smart dialogue continues to appeal to fans young and old. Today, the Frasier fandom is greater than ever before, and 30 years after the 1993 debut of the original NBC series, the doctor is coming back for a reboot!
Emmy-winning actor Kelsey Grammer is reprising his titular role as radio psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane in the Paramount+ streaming series Frasier, which debuts a 10-episode season on October 12 with the first two episodes, and then a new one every Thursday. (You’ll be able to stream it here!) CBS also will air the first two episodes of the Frasier reboot back-to-back on October 12, starting at 9:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Grammer, who is now 68 and a father of seven, can’t wait to share the new incarnation of the iconic show, saying “I gleefully anticipate sharing the next chapter in the continuing journey of Dr. Frasier Crane,” when the reboot was announced in August. The new show is produced by CBS Studios and filmed in front of a live studio audience at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.
New beginnings and throwbacks
In the Frasier reboot, Frasier Crane, now retired from radio psychiatry but a candidate for a teaching job at Harvard, moves from Seattle — where the ’90s series was set — back to Boston, where the Crane character originated in Cheers. (Read about the cast of Cheers here!)
Crane wants to reconnect with his son, Freddy (Jack Cutmore-Scott), since his own father, Martin Crane, died recently. In real life, John Mahoney, the beloved actor who played Frasier’s crabby and witty dad, died in 2018. In tribute to the actor, the neighborhood Cheers-like bar in the show is named Mahoney’s.
James Burrows, legendary director of the original series and first two episodes of the reboot, also told Entertainment Weekly that there’s an emotional tribute scene in the debut episode. “It’s a wonderful scene at the end of the show,” he said. “It’s about two and a half, three minutes without any laughs. You’ve got to be brave to do that.”
The father-son theme creates an echo of the first season of the original Frasier, when Frasier and his estranged father were trying to repair their relationship. Martin came to live with Frasier and they bickered and clashed constantly, which was a major source of comedy. Martin and Frasier’s hilarious back-and-forth was a big part of what made the original show so great.
The Frasier reboot builds on the father-son dynamic, with Grammer now the senior character. Freddy is reluctant to get too close to his father, and in some ways, the new show has Frasier coming full circle.
“There’s a lot of Martin in Freddy,” Burrows told Entertainment Weekly. The Frasier producers “specifically wanted Frasier to deal with his son … because the relationship with Kelsey and Mahoney was wonderful. So they tried to tap into that, and I think they succeeded.”
Aside from Grammer, a few other original actors are returning, including Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle, Frasier’s radio producer, and Bebe Neuwirth as Lilith Sternin, Frasier’s ex-wife. (Read about the original cast of Frasier here!) Other cast members in the Frasier reboot include Freddy’s roommate, Eve (Jess Salgueiro); Niles’ son, David (Anders Keith); Harvard professor Alan Cornwall (Nicholas Lyndhurst); and Olivia (Toks Olagundoye), the chair of Harvard’s psych department who tries to recruit Frasier to teach there.
A long-running spinoff
Frasier began as a spinoff of Cheers and even was shot on the same soundstage. In a video tour of the set for Frasier when the series began in 1993 — the same year Cheers ended — Grammer stood in his eclectically styled TV living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, the simulated Seattle skyline backing him, and stretched out his hands to demonstrate.
“Oh, for your information,” Grammer jokingly told the camera, “this is approximately where the Cheers bar used to be. … And we just threw them right out of here!”
Starting in the third season, Grammer’s Dr. Crane character was a fixture of the Boston bar, appearing on the show from 1984 to 1993, then moving to Seattle for his own spinoff show that ran until 2004. With nearly 40 years of small-screen appearances, Dr. Frasier Crane is one of TV’s longest-running characters. The original Frasier holds the record for the most Emmy wins for a comedy series, with 37 wins and 107 nominations.
Why we love Frasier
There are so many reasons to love Frasier, from the show’s dry sense of humor to its moments of slapstick to its perfectly on-point scriptwriting to the singular chemistry of the cast. Frasier wasn’t your average silly sitcom. Rather, it explored timeless, surprisingly deep themes like the sibling rivalry between Frasier and his brother, Niles, also a psychiatrist, and Frasier’s enduring love/hate relationship with his father.
Given Dr. Frasier Crane’s career in studying human behavior, there were many smart and sophisticated observations to enjoy, and he offered a satisfying mix of pretension and playfulness. Quoted in a New York Times article, Grammer perfectly summed up the appeal of his signature character as “flawed and silly and pompous and full of himself” yet ”genuinely kind” and ”totally vulnerable.”
If all that’s not enough, there was even a cute dog! Eddie, Martin’s adorable Jack Russell Terrier, had a thing for sitting and staring at Frasier for a long time. Rather than being just a pet that appears occasionally for cuteness points, Eddie became his own prominent character.
Even Frasier‘s theme song had a quirky, intellectual vibe. That song, “Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs,” is a jazzy tune with intentionally strange lyrics sung by Grammer himself, and it’s being reprised in the reboot. The song often used the punchline “Frasier has left the building,” at the episode’s end, in a twist on the old “Elvis has left the building” line. We’re thrilled that nearly 20 years after Frasier first left the building, our favorite psychiatrist is coming back in style.
Read on to catch up with more of your favorite ’90s TV stars!