Paramount+’s reboot of the hit NBC sitcom “Frasier” is set to begin rehearsals in February. But the show will notably be missing a fan-favorite member of the original cast: David Hyde Pierce, who played Frasier’s younger brother Niles Crane.
“For a while we were going to try to bring back the whole cast, the whole legacy cast,” star Kelsey Grammer told People. However, the actor told the outlet that the creative team behind the revival decided to change course after learning Hyde Pierce wouldn’t be taking part.
“David basically decided he wasn’t really interested in repeating the performance of Niles,” Grammer said. “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 Frasier third act. It’s an entirely new life for him.”
The “Cheers” spinoff, which ran on NBC for 11 seasons between 1993 and 2004, received 108 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, with a total of 37 wins, including five Outstanding Comedy Series wins, four Outstanding Lead Actor wins for Grammer and four Outstanding Supporting Actor wins for Hyde Pierce.
In addition to Grammer and Hyde Pierce, the show starred Jane Leeves as Daphne Moon, Peri Gilpin as Roz Doyle, and the late John Mahoney as Martin Crane.
Vulture asked Hyde Pierce in an interview back in June about the possibility of his appearance in the Frasier revival, to which he responded: “No one ever approached me about it so it wasn’t something I turned down. But it was also not something I was looking to do, so I wasn’t an engine behind it, either.”
When Frasier ended, Hyde Pierce shifted his focus to a successful career in the theatre, with credits including “Spamalot”, “Curtains”, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” and “Hello Dolly”. He also recently starred in the HBO Max series “Julia” as Paul Childs, the husband of TV personality and cooking teacher Julia Childs.
“In the years since, whenever the show is talked about — I don’t have a strong feeling that there’s anything more that I can think of that I need to say about the character,” he explained. “But I’m not a writer. And I think if they came up with some way of telling the stories that intrigued me, then I might think, “Oh, I could go back and do that”. But in terms of my own drive and interest, no. I love those characters, but I don’t miss them.”
But he emphasized that his experience working on Frasier is “deeply important” to him and that he would “never disrespect that in such a way as to say just offhandedly, “Oh, no, thanks. I’m not going to do that again”.”
“It’s too valuable to me. But by the same token, because it’s so valuable to me, I also wouldn’t do it just do it. And I believe it can be done without me, too — finding new stories to tell, in the same way that Frasier did after Cheers,” he added. “They didn’t bring along the Cheers gang to make a new show. They popped in from time to time and that was a blast, but there was something else that needed to be said, and it needed to be said in a different way. And maybe they will find that and I’ll be in it, or maybe they’ll find it and they won’t need me to be in it.”
The revival will find the psychiatrist living completely on his own in an entirely new city.
“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 also says the reboot will address the absences of Niles, Daphne and Roz.
“We’ll certainly be responsive about the fact that there was a brother and such,” Grammer noted. “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.”
The “Frasier” revival will be produced by CBS Studios in association with Grammer’s Grammnet NH Productions. The show will be executive produced by Tom Russo, Jordan McMahon and writers Chris Harris and Joe Cristalli.