Dr. Frasier Crane is coming back to a screen near you… and soon!
In a new interview with PEOPLE, Kelsey Grammer opens up about the upcoming revival of the beloved show Frasier, which ran on NBC from 1993-2004. (The show was originally a spin-off of Cheers, where Grammer also played Frasier Crane from 1984-1993.)
“We start rehearsals in February,” Grammer, 67, confirms of the Paramount+ show. “We’ve been working on it honestly for about six or seven years.”
“It’s been on the slow burner,” he continues. “We were like, this is not a bad idea. Maybe this is a good idea!”
Still, he says he and the producers involved went back and forth on the plot — as well as who might come back.
“For a while we were going to try to bring back the whole cast, the whole legacy cast,” Grammer says, referring the show’s main stars which included David Hyde Pierce, Peri Gilpin, Jane Leeves, and John Mahoney, who died in 2018.
However, after Hyde Pierce bowed out, Grammer says they had to rethink things.
“David basically decided he wasn’t really interested in repeating the performance of Niles,” Grammer says of his onscreen brother. (After Frasier, Hyde Pierce went on to have a thriving theater career and recently starred as Julia Childs’ husband Paul in the HBO Max series Julia.)
Grammer says the casting development actually ended up working out. “In a very funny way, it just took us to a new place, which was what we originally wanted to do anyway, which was a Fraser third act,” he explains. “It’s an entirely new life for him.”
In the original series, which won a total of 37 Emmys throughout it’s 11-season run, Grammer played Frasier, a radio psychiatrist and an uptight intellectual living in Seattle with his equally fussy brother and their blue collar father. The actor won four Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the role.
In the revival, fans will see Frasier living in an entirely new city alone.
“He’s our brave little soldier that continues on in life, finding new challenges and a new love and new people and a new city and stuff like that,” Grammer says. “I’m really very excited about it, and we’ll certainly always honor the past. We have to honor the fact that John Mahoney died and that Martin is no longer with us. We’ll be dealing with that for sure.”
He adds that they’ll also explain the absence of the other people from his past, including Niles, Roz and Daphne.
“We’ll certainly be responsive about the fact that there was a brother and such,” says Grammer. “But the new world for Frasier is one of new friendships — and some new twists and turns he didn’t know were still in there.”
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Last summer, Grammer — who is currently starring in the Lifetime holiday movie The 12 Days of Christmas Eve with his daughter Spencer Grammer (out Nov. 26) — opened up about reading the first script for the brand new Frasier, and he said he absolutely loved it.
“I’ve had a couple runs through it, and I cried,” he said at the time. “So you know, I’m happy.”