“Cheers” star Kelsey Grammer knew he was part of something special when he began appearing on “Cheers” in 1982. But he also paid his colleague Kirstie Alley a compliment, saying she gave the show a “creative jolt” that added great potential to its trajectory.
During a Sept. 18, 2016 appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show,” Grammer talked about the history of “Cheers.” He detailed how he made it onto the show. And he shared when he knew that “Cheers” was among “the greatest shows ever.”
“I realized it when we were doing ‘Cheers,’ that there was something great there,” Grammer said. “You know when Shelley Long decided she was gonna leave the show in the fifth season? So once that was done, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, that’s really weird. This show is really popular, really successful. And they’ve brought this new girl in, Kirstie Alley.’ And I thought, ‘This has the potential to be one of the greatest shows ever now. Because mid-stream, you can’t tell where it’s going. So it could go forever.’”
“Of course, they did 11 seasons,” he noted. It was a good show before that, Grammer hastened to add. But he said Alley helped give it a “jolt.” And “it was that sort of creative jolt that it got, that made it another show, a new show. That sort of put it on steroids. And it was great.”
Watch a clip of Grammer’s remarks here:
The Backstory: Grammer and Long Had Clashed on ‘Cheers’
On the set of “Cheers,” Grammer and Long reportedly really had it in for each other. Grammer wrote in his autobiography, “So Far…”, that his character, Frasier Crane, started out appearing in just three episodes. But Long took an instant dislike both to the character and to Grammer himself. She reportedly kept telling producers to get rid of Frasier. And they reportedly kept Grammer on just to spite her.
However, writer Ken Levine, who worked with Grammer on “Cheers” and “Frasier,” wrote on his blog that Grammer did himself a disservice. He said Grammer shouldn’t have implied that producers retained him for any reason other than talent.
“He was terrific and… he earned the promotion,” Levine wrote.
Then he added, “Now let me say a few words about Shelley’s behavior. She could be difficult. She could be obstinate. She could over-think something to death… At times I will admit it was frustrating. And exhausting. But Shelley has a good heart.”
Yet Alley Never Appeared on ‘Frasier’
Alley came to Grammer’s defense in 1990 after he failed to attend treatment for alcohol abuse and got caught with cocaine, testifying in his defense. But she nonetheless never appeared on a single episode of “Frasier.”
According to Screen Rant, Alley didn’t want to make an appearance on the spinoff because it focuses on two psychiatrists, Frasier and Niles Crane. And Alley, a devotee of Scientology, opposes psychiatry.
Meanwhile, “Frasier” co-creator and executive producer David Lee responded to Alley’s announcement that she wouldn’t be caught dead on the show by saying, “I don’t recall asking.”
But as Grammer’s 2016 comments suggest, he didn’t take it personally that Alley never stopped by “Frasier.” And “Cheers” did indeed go on to become one of the all-time TV classics.