If a classic television series is defined as one that withstands the test of time, then according to Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, his Emmy-winning NBC sitcom more than earns that title. However, the actor — who leaps to the big screen Friday in the crime thriller 15 Minutes — doesn't hold another popular Peacock comedy in such high regard.
"I find when I watch a Seinfeld [episode] in reruns, I don't find it as funny as I did the first time I watched it," Grammer says. "Whereas with Frasier, I tend to watch them and they hold up."
Viewers, of course, may disagree with that assessment. After five years in syndication, Seinfeld repeats rank second only in the ratings to old Friends — and ahead of a third-place Frasier. "Maybe we weren't quite as broadly appealing as Seinfeld was in its juvenile approach to things," Grammer hedges, before clarifying. "I applaud that; it was very successful."
Grammer is not nearly as diplomatic when the topic turns to the state of television journalism — which just happens to be a theme in 15 Minutes. "[As soon as] we asked news to be entertaining, we completely threw away any possibility of being objective," he offers, "because a point of view sells and objectivity really doesn't."
Moviegoers will likely see shades of Grammer's disapproval in his portrayal of 15 Minutes's ruthless talking head Robert Hawkins. "My homage to anchorman really is as broad as Jerry Springer to Tom Brokaw," he says. "I know that may not make them happy.
"It was certainly Brokaw," he adds of NBC's Nightly News man. "I borrowed the vocal thing from him. It's like there are no highs and lows... He uses about three notes in his voice for his reporting persona. It gives it an air of some kind of importance, and you pretend that it's objective."