Now that the whole Frasier mystery has been solved — NBC finally confirmed Monday that the Emmy-winning comedy would end its 11-year run in May — we can all concentrate on more important things. Like, how will the show wrap things up? Will Frasier find true love with actress Laura Linney? Will Niles and Daphne get their own spin-off? And will Kelsey Grammer follow up his role of a lifetime by snagging Nathan Lane's on Broadway? Phew, that's a lot of questions. Luckily, TV Guide Online was on the show's Hollywood-based set for Monday's farewell press conference/luncheon to get all the scoop — and then some. That's right, there's even more.
Will Frasier at last get the girl — any girl?
"It's possible," Grammer told reporters. "He's a terrific guy. And as he's mellowed through the years, I think he's a little bit easier to get along with." Enter Oscar-nominated thesp Laura Linney (You Can Count On Me), who TV Guide Online has learned will play a potential love interest for the lovelorn shrink in at least three episodes. "She's a matchmaker who Frasier turns to in desperation," says exec producer Joe Keenan, who wouldn't rule out the possibility that the two will ride off into the sunset together. "We're exploring how far to go [with them]." Speaking of potential mates...
What about Emma Thompson? Didn't TV Guide magazine recently report that she was in talks to reprise her Cheers role as Frasier's first wife, children's singer Nanny Gee? After agreeing to do the gig, Thompson "bailed on us," says exec producer David Lee. (Ironically, the actress/mother allegedly cited "nanny issues" as the reason.) As a result, Roseanne grad Laurie Metcalf will take over the role in a future episode.
Will there be a spin-off of the spin-off?
Last year, Grammer told TV Guide Online that the Frasier/Cheers franchise could conceivably live on through Niles and Daphne. "I haven't heard anything more about it," he now says. Adds NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker: "We would always be open to that possibility. How could you not be? Whether it's [Frasier] as a family man, or Niles and Daphne and their life, it's something that we would always consider. But there's no discussion at this point."
Was there ever any serious talk about doing a 12th season?
Says Zucker: "We had one conversation with Gary Hart, who runs Paramount, that was very preliminary. We said that we understand that everybody feels that this should be the end, but... It was an exploratory conversation; it never went beyond that." Grammer wouldn't confirm reports that talks broke down over money, saying, "I would never say anything about money." Translation: Talks broke down over money, folks.
What's next for Kelsey Grammer?
After winning three Emmys for Frasier, the actor may be gunning for his first Tony. Grammer tells TV Guide Online that he's in talks to take over Nathan Lane's role in Broadway's The Producers this summer. Grammer's also producing an hour-long drama pilot for NBC about a psychic. "It's best thing I've read in a long time," he says. "I know [Jeff Zucker]'s as enthusiastic about it as I am, so we'll see how that goes."