Frasier was one of the well-loved sitcoms from the United States during the ‘90s. It was actually a spinoff of an extremely popular sitcom Cheers, which ran from 1982 to 1993. The title “Frasier” was based on the name of the main character, the psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane, who was added to Cheers on its third season as a temporary release for the relationship tension between Diane and Sam. Played by Kelsey Grammer, Dr. Fraseir Crane was originally meant to be a temporary character, but due to his amazing performance, Frasier became a series regular in Cheers and was eventually spun off to his own show.
The show premiered on September 16, 1993 and lasted for 11 years. The story started at the end of Cheers, when Frasier divorces his wife Lilith and decides to move to Seattle. He wanted to live like the ultimate bachelor, only to find out that he needs to take care of his father Martin, who had mobility problems after being injured in the line of duty as a police officer. The story revolved around Frasier’s search for love, his amusing relationship with his brother Nile, their father’s British caretaker Daphne, and Frasier’s producer Roz Doyle for his syndicated radio talk show.
Here are some interesting facts about Frasier that will make you miss the show:
1. The story of Frasier was inspired from a real-life story
The spinoff Frasier was born when co-creator, writer and producer David Lee was forced to take care of his elderly father who recently suffered from stroke. As an only child, David Lee felt that he needs to move back in with his mother to help take care of his father. This is where the entire subplot of Frasier living with his father Martin came from.
2. The original idea for the show wasn’t supposed to deal with Frasier
When Kelsey Grammer and the creative team behind Frasier were coming up with ideas from the show, they wanted to veer away from the original characters of Cheers as possible. Sure, they would cast Kelsey, but they thought using the Dr. Crane character would generate unfair comparisons to Cheers from viewers. Their initial idea was to have Kelsey play as a paralyzed media mogul cared by a live-in care provider and have it set in a Manhattan penthouse. But Paramount hated the idea, saying that the writers should stick with Cheers and capitalize on its built-in audience.
For sure, they were so glad they reconsidered Paramount’s idea, as the show itself and the cast won 37 Emmy awards throughout its run, including the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for 5 consecutive years.
3. They strategically set the show on Seattle so it would be far away from Boston
Once they had agreed to continue with the Cheers spinoff focusing on Frasier, the creative team didn’t want the show to be subject to what they call “crossover syndrome” where the cast of Cheers would keep showing up. That’s why they moved Frasier across the country to Seattle. That way, if the Cheers cast would make guest appearances on the show, it would be truly special to the fans.
4. Lisa Kudrow almost played Roz
The role of Frasier’s producer, Roz Doyle, originally went to Lisa Kudrow. The producers liked that she can make even the most boring lines funny, but during the third day of rehearsals, they realized that Lisa wasn’t forceful enough to match Kelsey Grammer when he went all out. Lisa was fired and the role eventually went to Peri Gilpin. However, as we all knew, Lisa became one of Friend’s stars a year after, landing the role of the eccentric blonde Phoebe Buffay. Truly, when one door closes, a friendlier door opens.
Here’s another interesting fact about Roz Doyle: the name and the character wasn’t randomly made. It was a tribute to one of the producers of the hit TV show from the ‘90s entitled Wings. Sadly, Roz Doyle only became its producer for a year because of breast cancer. The writers decided to immortalize the real Roz, who is also a friend of Kelsey’s, by naming a main character on the show after her.
5. Rosie Perez almost played Daphne
Originally, Kelsey Grammer wanted the character of Daphne Moon to be a Latina, while the producers already had their eye on Jane Leeves. Kelsey knew he wanted Latina actress Rosie Perez to play the part. Meanwhile, Jane Leeves is British and Kelsey objected to casting her because he was concerned about the show being similar to Nanny and the Professor, where Juliet Mills starred as an English nanny. However, he was convinced when his initial table reading with Leeves went exceptionally well.
6. The production spent huge money for Frasier’s penthouse
In the pilot episode, Frasier asked his father Martin, “So what do you think of what I’ve done with the place? You know, every item here was carefully selected…” And believe it or not, that was true. The set designers spent nearly half a million dollars (which amounts to over $850,000 today) to give Frasier’s apartment an eclectic look. They bought a $15,000-worth Coco Chanel replica sofa covered with Italian suede, a $3,200-worth Pastoe curved sideboard, and a $1,395-worth Wassily chair. Even Martin’s ugly recliner was worth couple grand since it needed to be specially upholstered.
7. Kelsey Grammer sang the theme song
Not only was Kelsey Grammer the main star of Frasier with a great voice of a radio host, he was also the artist who sang the theme song of the show. Composer Bruce Miller had a hard time writing a theme song for the series, as the producers prohibited him from using the words “radio,” psychiatry,” or even “Frasier,” so he asked for help from Darryl Phinnessee, a lyricist. They came up with the phrase “tossed salad and scrambled eggs” to describe the “mixed up” patients of Dr. Crane. This song was sung during the closing credits.
8. Jane Leeves worked with an accent coach
The producers wanted a British caregiver, and that’s what they got with Jane Leeves. She grew up just north of London, England, but since her character was from Manchester, she had to have a Mancunian accent. Because of that, she needed a voice coach to change her British accent into a Mancunian one. On the other hand, John Mahoney (who played Frasier and Nile’s father Martin), grew up in Manchester but decidedly dropped his natural Mancunian accent and adapted an American accent when he emigrated to the US when he was 19.
9. The Niles role was specially made for David Hyde Pierce
David Hyde Pierce played the role of Nile Crane, who was Frasier’s younger brother who was also a psychiatrist. Originally, there wasn’t a plan to give Frasier a brother, but when the producers saw the startling resemblance of Kelsey and David Hyde Pierce, they dug up some tapes of Pierce playing in an older sitcom. The producers quickly created the new role of Niles Crane and arranged a meeting with Pierce to offer him the role.
10. The writers interestingly explained away Jane Leeves’ real life pregnancy
During season 7, Jane Leeves was pregnant in real life. To explain her burgeoning baby bump, the writers wrote about her weight gain as Daphne’s sudden compulsive overeating as a method of dealing with her tumultuous dating relationship with Niles. In the show, she was sent away to a spa for a few episodes and returned svelte, claiming to have lost 9 lbs. and 12 oz. after her visit to the spa. This was an inside joke, because in reality, Leeves was sent for maternity leave to give birth to her daughter Isabella, who weighed 9 lbs. and 12 oz. at birth.
11. Peri Gilpin did a lot of explaining when her character Roz was pregnant
Meanwhile, there was a pregnancy that is written into the show, but the actress wasn’t pregnant in real life. In season 5, the character of Roz got pregnant and it was featured mostly throughout the season. This made real-life family and friends of Peri Gilpin think that the actress was really pregnant and assume that she refused to tell them about her impending motherhood. Gilpin wasn’t with child, so she did a lot of explaining to the people close to her. It was strictly a plot device to give the character her own storyline. However, after Roz’s child was born, the baby was hardly ever mentioned because as it turns out, Kelsey Grammer didn’t want the hassle of having to work with a tight work schedule for child actors.
12. Kelsey Grammer had an unusual acting method
Kelsey Grammer had an unusual acting method that he calls “requisite disrespect,” in which he only rehearse each scene ones and would only look at his lines during the last minute before filming. He believed that this approach brought a sense of spontaneity, realism and energy to his character. The cast and crew got used to it, but many of the guest stars found it annoying.
13. Most of the Cheers cast made appearances on the show
As mentioned above, the writers of Frasier did not want the show to become a stage in which the Cheers cast can come and go whenever they please. But still, most of them were written into the show to make guest appearances. Lilith visited the most because she was Frasier’s ex and Frederick’s mom. Diane, Sam and Woody also went to Seattle for different reasons. There was this one episode in season 9 when everyone was together again, when the Cranes went to Boston for a business trip.
14. The cast member of the show who received the most fan mail was a dog
Nobody saw it coming, but when Frasier started to top the Nielsen ratings every week, adorable Eddie the Jack Russel Terrier received the most number of fan mail. The cast members indeed recognized that the most popular award goes to Eddie the dog (or Moose, which was his name on the show). He was even the only member of the cast to appear on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.
During the doggie auditions, the producers were looking for a dog who can stare endlessly at Kelsey Grammer (and this was a running joke throughout the series). Moose performed flawlessly and retired at the age of 10 (after end of Season 7). After that his son Enzo took over the role of Eddie the dog.
15. The script was re-written when Kelsey Grammer went to rehab
On September 21, 1996, Kelsey Grammer was driving his Dodge Viper when it crashed and flipped next to his driveway in California. He wasn’t severely injured but it was found out that he was driving under the influence of illegal substances, spurring him to check in at rehab. Coincidentally, the accident happened at an opportune time, where there was a three-week filming break due to Major League Basketball playoffs. So, the series was quickly re-written to feature Niles hosting his brother’s radio program while Frasier was at a convention.
16. Kelsey Grammer played Frasier for a very long time
Counting the time he spent on Cheers, Kelsey Grammer played the character of Dr. Frasier Crane for 20 consecutive years. The only actor who had played the same character for that long was James Arness, who played Marshall Dillon on Gunsmoke.
Kelsey Grammer played the character on Cheers and Frasier (obviously), as well as on Wings as a guest star and in many, many crossover shows. He even got nominated for an Emmy for his appearance on Wings.