Curtain calls for NBC's 'Frasier'

MUMBAI: "Goodnight, Seattle" should be the final line this May, when television's favourite comic psychiatrist Frasier Crane bids good bye after a eleven year stint.

After a year long 'will they won't they make a season 12', NBC has finally decided to call it quits. NBC president Jeff Zucker made it official that Frasier's final episode will be taped on 24 March and shown during the May ratings "sweeps."

But unlike other NBC shows like Sex and the City and Friends, which phased out after a grand finale, it is unclear as to how the sitcom, starring Kelsey Grammer is to fade, say media reports.

Although the announcement wasn't a surprise, there was a glimmer of hope for a last-minute reprieve after both NBC television president Jeff Zucker Kelsey and Grammer had hinted it might return for a 12th season.

The General Electric co-owned broadcaster decided not to renew the long-running comedy for a 12th season after initial discussions with Paramount and principal cast members generated little enthusiasm for bringing the show back, indicate the reports.

Speculation have been rife in media that with the costs mounting and the ratings dropping the makers had to can the plans of shooting another season. Reports indicate that the show was costing NBC more than $5m per episode to air.

With the the show's two stars, Kelsey Grammer, who plays Frasier, and David Hyde Pierce, who plays his brother Niles receiving well in excess of $1m per episode, the figure was ever-inflating. Some reports also indicate that Grammer clinched a reported salary of $1.6 million per episode in his last renewal deal, a sum that made him the highest-paid sitcom star ever at the time.

With the trio Frasier, Seinfeld and Friends winding up, the network television in the United States will be bereft of a single bona fide comedy hit.

Interestingly, the show that spawned out of a hit Boston bar comedy Cheers, match its 11 year run. Grammer will have played the same role on television for 20 years. The show garnered critical acclaim, particularly for its two lead actors. It won 31 Emmies during its lifetime including best comedy for five straight years, from 1994 to 1998.

During its run, the show boasts a guest list including Halle Berry, John Cusack, Cindy Crawford, Jodie Foster, Art Garfunkel, Tommy Hillfiger, Eric Idle, John McEnroe and Carly Simon.

Besides numerous Emmy Awards, the writers, directors and its all-star cast of the show have also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Musical or Comedy, the 1994 Peabody Award, The People's Choice Award for Favorite New Comedy Series and an unprecedented three consecutive Television Critics Association Awards for Best comedy Series. The series has also won multiple Viewers for Quality Television Awards and the coveted Humanitas Prize.

The series also won the Screen Actors Guild Award in the 1998-1999 season, for Best Comedy Series for the first time. Additionally, David Hyde Pierce holds the record for the most SAG award nominations at 18 (one for Nixon), followed closely by castmate Kelsey Grammer, who has garnered 17 SAG nominations for his work on Frasier, say the reports.

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