[01/13/04 - 12:00 AM]
'Frasier' to Close After 11 Seasons
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Kelsey Grammer made it official at the TCA's winter press tour on Monday: "Frasier" will close up shop after 11 seasons in May.

While the show's current season had been pegged as the show's last for some time, the actor had hinted recently he'd be willing to return for a 12th go around - most notably during a November appearance on CBS' "The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn." "If someone called and said, 'We really want you back for another year,' I'd probably figure out some way to make that happen," Grammer told Kilborn. "But that call hasn't come." Adding fuel to the fire was the show's creative resurgence this season with the return of creators/executive producers Christopher Lloyd and Joe Keenan.

Financial realities however, not creative ones, factored heavily into NBC's decision to end the series. The Peacock is currently in the final year of its three-season, $374 million pact with distributor Paramount Network Television. And with the show's audience down 22% in year-to-year comparisons (10.99 million vs. 14.13 million), NBC couldn't see shelling out $5.2 million per episode for another season with Dr. Crane. The Peacock and Paramount reportedly tried to negoate a lesser license fee for a 12th season, but a deal couldn't be struck.

The series will tape its final episode on March 24. "Frasier" joins "Friends" and HBO's "Sex and the City" as the third major comedy exit scheduled for this year. As for the finale's plotline, "We don't have a clue how we're going to end, to be honest with you," Lloyd told reporters.

  [january 2004]  


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