Saturday, February 27, 2021

Weekend Post

After months of rumors, it was finally announced that FRASIER will indeed return.  Its new home will be Paramount +.  A lot of you have asked whether I'll be involved.  The honest answer is I have no idea.  The writers/showrunners will be Chris Harris and Joe Cristalli.  They both have good credits.  But I've never met either of them.  So I have no idea what their plans are, what the premise is, how many of the original cast members will be back (if any), how many episodes they'll be making, or whether they plan to reach out to former FRASIER writers or just staff it with new people.  

I do know that Kelsey & Alec Baldwin are committed to do a series for ABC next fall that FRASIER veteran, Chris Lloyd will oversee.  So the FRASIER reboot may not happen for awhile.   

All that said, whatever Harris & Cristalli do, I'm thrilled that FRASIER is returning and wish them along with everybody associated with it the very best of luck.  We need a smart sophisticated comedy.  There's a large audience for that that is currently not being served. My hope is it revitalizes the form and more follow.  Keep the flame burning.  

And you know Frasier Crane couldn't just fly off and live happily ever after.  Not in this current world.  I'm sure there will be no shortage of things to frustrate him.  And right there is a great start. 

38 comments :

Rory Wohl said...

Totally agree that a smart, sophisticated comedy is welcome, I just wish it were a new smart, sophisticated comedy not a reboot of a previous one.

But, I guess that familiarity is what brings in eyeballs.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I read about something like this, a reboot of an iconic sitcom or a new series starring a couple of well-known actors, I think about Robert Duvall's character in "Network" yelling about having "a giant hit, a big huge, big titted hit." Ken deserves to be there just like anybody else. One thing Ken won't be doing is the Toronto Blue Jays radio broadcasts because Roger's (cable, phone, radio, television) announced yesterday they have eliminated the entire radio side of it and are going to simulcast the TV feed on radio. Tom Cheek is rolling over in his grave. "Touch 'em all Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run in your life."

Mike Barer said...

I was not a fan of the character, at first, but the dynamic of Frasier, Niles, and likable real characters like Roz, and Martin made it one of my favorite shows.
I don't know if that can be recreated.

Dave Creek said...

It'll be interesting to see the premise. Just as the original FRASIER took the character from Boston and the familiar environment of the Cheers bar, I would hope the new version of the show would take him to yet another environment to show yet another side to his character. That, and creating new characters to surround him, will be the challenge.

Moot said...

This all sounds great, but I have questions as to how common sense and sophistication will be portrayed when the Wikipedia article for the man that portrays the titular character cites his admiration for Vladimir Putin, and historical endorsements for Giuliani and the name we do not speak? Now I like the actor and have nothing against him, but the reputation and lifestyle that is reported just strike me as running parallel to that of Rush Limbaugh. Or is he just a dancer for money, and any old music will do?

Anonymous said...

I'll definitely watch it, but I'm going to have expectations through the roof. We're taking about a reboot of the greatest comedy show of all time, not CHARLES IN CHARGE.

Truthfully, even if it's disappointing, I'll probably still like it.



Troy McClure said...

Frasier without the original writers would be completely pointless. Doing Frasier without Frasier writers would be like trying to do Twin Peaks without David Lynch or The Sopranos without David Chase.

If the showrunners don't reach out to Ken, David, Joe Keenan, Chris Lloyd, Anne Flett-Giordano, Chuck Ranberg, Peter Casey, David Lee and all the other writers, then it'll just be the New Coke of sitcoms.

Boomska316 said...

I just can't see Frasier working without John Mahoney.

KB said...

I don't like that everything is a reboot these days. But with Frasier I am cautiously optimistic. I just worry that they get it right. And that's why they need to load half the room with some Frasier vets. And even then I worry.

I watched a CBS sitcom recently that had so many writers (favored nations?) and I recognized almost every name from sitcoms I've enjoyed over the years (including a Frasier alum) and it was pretty terrible. It always baffles me how so many accomplished writers can churn out such tired and flat material. But really it comes down to the characters and this particular show has a collection of characters that either I don't care about or they're just caricatures we've seen a million times. With Frasier, they get a head start. We already know we like him. I wish this reboot luck because damn, that was a funny show.

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

For some reason, although I loved the original "Frasier" and consider it one of the best sitcoms of all time, I'm not as jubilant about its revival. But I'll reserve final judgment until I see it...if I see it. I don't subscribe to any streaming services.

When we last saw Dr.Frasier Crane, his plane had just landed in Chicago, where presumably he was going to start a new life with a new love interest, played by Laura Linney. Is that where things will pick up?

I also wonder if the new producers will adopt a single-camera format which emphasizes a more dramatic, introspective approach, while still retaining some of the old comedic Frasier, a la "Lou Grant"?

Derek said...

Perhaps a Friday question: If the Frasier reboot happens do you get money, even if you have zero involvement in the reboot?

Headacher said...

How about Frasier has his own psychiatric practice in a nice downtown Chicago office building. His psychiatric philosophies differ greatly from the psychological philosophies of a psychologist who has his own practice directly across the lobby from Frasier's office. The two Doctors, Frasier Crane and Robert Hartley, participate in mind game battles against one another. Yet the two, outside their office surroundings, are good friends. Perhaps Dr. Hartley is even a sort of "fill-in" father figure to Frasier?

Or maybe Frasier retires from his Chicago practice and moves to Vermont to help run a Country Inn with the current curmudgeon owner?

How about these for some true Hollywood original ideas?

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea Headacher, then an errant golf ball, obviously shot by Frasier, hits Hartley and knocks him out. Then when he wakes up you see a bed scene with Bob Hartley, Carol Burnett, Ted Baxter and Alice Cramden. This Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice reboot leads to ABC bringing back Racquel Welch in Mother, Juggs, and Speed and Clevon Little in Temperatures Rising. "We'll ABC-yea Tuesday night"

Mike Bloodworth said...

The original "Frasier" went on at least two seasons too long. It had been running out of steam for quite a while before that. There were only so many variations of "misunderstanding with Niles" or "difference of opinion with Martin" or "help Roz with her love life" that could be done. That's why I fear that a reboot won't be able to put a new spin on the character. It will probably wind up rehashing the same old tropes.
I hope I'm wrong. I loved "Frasier" too much to see its legacy tarnished with a clich├ęd reboot.
And if they call it, "After F*R*A*S*I*E*R" you know it's doomed from the start.

M.B.

P.S. In previous blogs I've mentioned some possible plot lines for a "Frasier" reboot, most of them facetiously. However, here's a serious one.
Roz has become a huge radio star in her own right. So Frasier must contend with being in competition with and/or working for someone that used to be his subordinate. That would frustrate the hell out of him.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Boomska316: I don't know. Grown-up Frederick offers the opportunity to create a new generational clash.

For myself, I suspect I won't be interested if David Hyde Pierce isn't involved.

wg

Matt in Westwood CA said...

Given the fact there are no sophisticated well written multi camera comedies today, I too hope a FRASIER reboot can set a precedent for a return of this type of series. As the original was such a huge success, the new show runners have a lot to draw on from how audiences have responded to such attempts.

First, as the announcement that it is happening sends a couple of clear messages. As not a single other cast member was attached when they announced, they have already concluded they are not being asked to return as regulars or they are fully prepared to go on without them.

Second, a good deal of the success of the original is the spinoff put the character in a whole new world of now classic characters without relying on any CHEERS characters to help drive it. To be fresh it really needs to be Frasier in a new phase of his life and the people that currently surround him.

Third, when comparing to the complete disappointment of the MURPHY BROWN reboot, FRASIER has the opportunity of making a real success of what the one thing the MURPHY BROWN reboot did right. The key character to add would be a grown up Frederick and his current relationship with his father where Frasier is adapting to a new world around him and perhaps exploring his own version of a role reversal of what he experienced with his own father, the difference being Frasier is likely very active unlike his retired father. On MURPHY BROWN her grown son even followed in her footsteps and their relationship (along with great chemistry in casting) was likely the only true high point in that 13 episode overly political soapbox fiasco.

Finally, the announcement of the show runners, who had nothing to do with the original is key. Do they have the true voice of FRASIER today that can find the delicate balance of the character so well remembered and write him in a way that audiences will relate to today.

Here’s hoping they call Ken and David to write the story of Frasier and Lilith reuniting in some hilarious fashion that will inevitably disrupt a major moment in Frederick’s life. Intelligent and sophisticated writers do exist.

Douglas Trapasso said...

@Mike Bloodworth - I had a similar idea when "Murphy Brown" was rebooted - what if she was promoted, albeit kicking and screaming, into Network Management? And one of her new subordinates at FYI was a twenty-something teenybopper who worshiped Murphy's eighties persona, which has become a cult hit on YouTube?

Call Me Mike said...

@Moot - I don't see why any of that would matter. You may recall there's an episode where Frasier and Niles back a candidate for Congress, who is at odds with Martin's choice. It's never explicably stated what parties the candidates belong to, but it's obvious from their policy positions that Frasier and Niles back the liberal while Martin backs the conservative.

They're actors. And unless Kelsey Grammer has truly gone off the deep end and disrespects his iconic character, I don't see why he couldn't easily slip back into the role of sherry sipping liberal Frasier Crane.

But I would recommend that he stays away from social media altogether while he plays Frasier again. For his and our own sanity.

SummitCityScribe said...

If they don't reach out to the original writers and the show stinks, people will say, see—they should have hired some of the original Frasier writers!

If they do employ some original Frasier writers and the show stinks, people will say: boy it wasn't as good as the original. Those vets must have lost their stuff!

As Bill Goldman said, nobody knows anything. Frasier redux could be hilarious, or it could be like the recent Murphy Brown project where it was nice to see the old gang again but it only reminded you how good the old show was.

MikeN said...

What makes you think it will be a smart sophisticated comedy?

What if this is just a name that they are using, but the comedy will be as bad as all the other so-called sitcoms.
I guess what I'm asking is how much can a showrunner fix bad writing? Can he fire the writers?

Johnny M. said...

Ken - For all your vitriol towards any supporter of the former guy, how could you work with Kelsey? Particularly if whats-his-name tried to become our president again?

Guy said...

This revival sounds like it’ll be different from the likes of “Will & Grace“ in that they’re bringing back the character, not the original format or premise. It sounds like a spin-off of a spin-off, one which happens to star the original lead of the first spin-off - a rather unique endeavour. I truly hope it’s a success and can stand on its own while recalling the good ol’ days.

Daniel said...

The anonymous comment about baseball made me think that a radio sportscast would be the perfect medium for social distancing. We could hear an entire baseball game with no need for actual players, just Ken in his home studio with a library of sound effects. The games he called would be much more thrilling if he wrote a script full of last-second stolen bases and miraculous home runs. And because none of the athletes would actually have to show up on the field, every game could feature Ken’s dream lineup of players. Some baseball stars might record post-game interviews from their homes, but their comments would be much more entertaining and coherent, since they wouldn’t be winded from several innings of an actual game.

Stuart said...

Since they won't have John Mahoney, that means they won't have Eddie III, or Eddie IV. And without Eddie... what's the point?

{said only semi-facetiously}

Philly Cinephile said...

I'm picturing Frasier, recovering from an injury and living with Frederick and spouse, sipping sherry in his Eames chair, which clashes with the couple's farmhouse chic decor...

John said...

Are there any sitcoms in current production that you look forward to watching? Let's presume for the sake of argument that any show written or produced by Annie Levine is appointment television.

Ere I Saw Elba said...

I'm going to concur with what some commenters have said, and Ken said implicitly: This FRASIER reboot is only gonna be any good if many of the original writers are involved, and probably directors and set designers as well. Let's see if the main cast of actors have their heart in it.

As for Eddie--Arf?

Mike Barer said...

I put my own blog post on the subject and posted on the TV Facebook group, where is got an overwhelming thumbs down.

Caleb Martin said...

"I don't have the foggiest idea if I'll be involved in the reboot of one of my favorite projects, but here's a rock-solid argument for why it has terrific potential anyway."

You are a rare bird in this town, Ken.

Troy McClure said...

Ken, did you see SNL last night? During Weekend Update, Colin Jost mentions the revival and says "For those of you who are too young to remember, Frasier was the show that made Friends look black."

https://youtu.be/S21F6hsRUUo

Bob Paris said...

How about Frasier's radio show's ratings tank and there is a change of format. He becomes a conservative radio talk show host. The surprise is that he is actually liberal and the premise is his having to keep that a secret.

CM said...

Well, I'm glad it's not Young Frasier.

bee- said...

I hope this isn't being developed as a 'new' Frasier angled towards "Generation Z" or some such nonsense. Cheers was a more or less 'adult' show and Frasier definitely and 'adult' show and its been a big hit in syndication. If it ain't broke....

Anyway, hope it works out well and they hire back some of the great writers from Frasier's heyday such as the host of this blog!

Kendall Rivers said...

I don't know if this will work. I don't know If It'll be enjoyable to watch any iteration of Frasier without Martin or Niles, Daphne, Roz etc. the perfect ensemble was just as crucial to the success of Frasier as Kelsey and the writers\directors themselves, BUT... I trust Kelsey's intentions and judgment as well as Casey, Lee and Keenan who I read would be involved. If nothing else and if It does get made and falters I know that there will be great effort made to make it as true to Frasier and as true to the sophisticated character driven humor as humanly possible. I'm willing to give it a shot.

Pidgy Gordon said...

Sounds like this could become another “The Man Who Came to Dinner”.

ProfFalken said...

Only interested if the new show takes after the best of the first years of the show. When the show degenerated (as unfortunately lately many do) into being centered around the sex lives of the characters, I gave up watching. I'm not a prude, but it struck me as lazy writing for a show that started off with some of the most well written sitcom characters on tv at the time.

MSOLDN said...

How about a companion series to Ozark, where Frasier arrives at Lake of the Ozarks in nostalgic pursuit of his old Frasier-finale Chicago-based girlfriend, renamed as “Wendy” (Laura Linney), on the premise that he was her flame before “Marty” came along? Since “cons” play the best “libs”, and vice versa, Kelsey/Frasier could become the new left-leaning host, who callers love to argue with, on a regional radio network, and maybe even have a darkly comic role in the local crime wave as well. Just kidding, sort of!

David G. said...

"Frasier" was a highly popular TV series that lasted for 11 seasons and involved Ken Levine as a writer. So, for the sequel series, I'd like to see Frasier be hired as the staff psychiatrist at a V.A. hospital in River Bend, Missouri.