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Kelsey Grammer Explains Why David Hyde Pierce Won’t Return as Niles for Upcoming ‘Frasier’ Reboot

The series, which begins filming in February, was previously imagined as an opportunity to reunite the legacy cast. Grammer now says it's a chance to explore "an entirely new life" for "Cheers" icon Frasier Crane.

(Left to right): Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce

(Left to right): Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce

Getty Images/Everett Collection

Dr. Frasier Crane existed long before he got his “Cheers” spinoff — the fittingly titled “Frasier” — in 1993. Now, thanks to Kelsey Grammer and a smartly sentimental green light from Paramount+, the well-to-do radio host will go on after it too, in a series revival expected to begin production next year.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for David Hyde Pierce’s Niles Crane: the well-loved (if intensely persnickety) younger brother of the snooty psychiatrist, who stole scene after scene during the original run and will not return.

“For a while we were going to try to bring back the whole cast, the whole legacy cast,” Grammer said in a recent interview with People. “David basically decided he wasn’t really interested in repeating the performance of Niles.”

It’s a tough blow. Across 11 seasons of “Frasier,” Niles became a fan-favorite standout: delivering not only the humor, but the heart that much of the original “Cheers” cast enjoyed with Grammer way back when. In the series finale, the snooty sibling, also a psychiatrist, started a family and rode off into the metaphoric sunset with Janes Leeves’ Daphne Moon. Turns out, even in the modern age of IP recycling, that really will be the last TV audiences see of Niles.

Still, Grammer says that’s made bringing Frasier back for a solo reboot all the more exciting.

“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,” Grammer also told People. “It’s an entirely new life for him.”

The presently untitled series will follow Frasier to a different city — so, no Boston or Seattle — and further consider his ever-evolving character.

“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 said, before noting the unavoidable loss of another “Frasier” cast member. “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 [Niles and Frasier’s father Martin Crane] is no longer with us. We’ll be dealing with that for sure.”

“Frasier” ran for 11 seasons from 1993 to 2004 on NBC, with CBS Studios’ predecessor Paramount Network Television also producing. “Frasier” set the record for the most Emmy Award wins by a scripted series at the time, with a total of 37, including five consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series. The revival was written by “How I Met Your Mother” alum Chris Harris and “Life in Pieces” screenwriter Joe Cristalli, who executive produce alongside Grammer, Tom Russo, and Jordan McMahon. The series will be produced by CBS Studios in association with Grammer’s Grammnet NH Productions.

“We begin rehearsals in February,” Grammer also told People. “We’ve been working on it honestly for about six or seven years.”

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