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Cheers

[cheer]

Cheers is an American situation comedy television series that ran eleven seasons from 1982 to 1993. It was produced by Charles-Burrows-Charles Productions in association with Paramount Television for NBC, having been created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles. The show is set in the Cheers bar (named for the toast "Cheers") in Boston, Massachusetts, where a group of locals meet to drink and have fun. The show's theme song was written by Judy Hart Angelo and Gary Portnoy and performed by Portnoy; its famous refrain, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" also became the show's tagline.

After premiering on September 30, 1982, it was nearly cancelled during its first season when it ranked dead last in ratings. However, Cheers eventually became a highly rated television show in the United States, earning a top-ten rating during eight of its eleven seasons, including one season at #1, and spending the bulk of its run on NBC's "Must See Thursday" lineup. Its widely watched series finale was broadcast on May 20, 1993. The show's 275 episodes have been successfully syndicated worldwide, and have earned 28 Emmy Awards from of a total of 117 nominations. The character Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) was featured in his own successful spin-off, Frasier.

Cast

Cheers maintained an ensemble cast, keeping roughly the same set of characters for the entire run. Numerous secondary characters and love interests for these characters appeared intermittently to complement storylines that generally revolved around this core group.

The table below summarizes the main cast of Cheers.

Character Actor/Actress Role Other occupation(s) Duration
Sam Malone Ted Danson Bartender/Owner Former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox 1982-1993
Diane Chambers Shelley Long Waitress Author; graduate student 1982-1987 (1993; guest)
Rebecca Howe Kirstie Alley Manager/Waitress Businesswoman; superintendent 1987-1993
Carla Tortelli Rhea Perlman Waitress Homemaker 1982-1993
"Woody" Boyd Woody Harrelson Assistant Bartender Actor; politician 1985-1993
Norm Peterson George Wendt Customer Accountant; interior decorator; house painter 1982-1993
Cliff Clavin John Ratzenberger Customer Mailman 1982-1993
Frasier Crane Kelsey Grammer Customer Psychiatrist 1984-1993
Ernie "Coach" Pantusso Nicholas Colasanto Assistant Bartender Former baseball player and coach 1982-1985
Lilith Sternin Bebe Neuwirth Customer Psychiatrist 1986-1993

The character of Sam Malone was originally intended to be a retired football player and was originally supposed to be played by Fred Dryer, but after casting Ted Danson it was decided that a former baseball player would be more believable, given Danson's slimmer physique. The character of Cliff Clavin was created for John Ratzenberger after he auditioned for the role of "Norm". While chatting with producers afterwards, he asked if they were going to include a "bar know-it-all", the part which he eventually played. Kirstie Alley joined the cast when Shelley Long left, and Woody Harrelson joined when Nicholas Colasanto died. Danson, George Wendt, and Rhea Perlman were the only actors to appear in every episode of the series. Paul Willson, who played the recurring barfly character of "Paul", made early appearances in the first season as "Glen", was credited as "Gregg", and also appeared in the show as a character named "Tom".

Guest stars

Although Cheers operated largely around that main ensemble cast, guest stars did occasionally supplement them. Notable repeat guests included Jay Thomas as Eddie LeBec, Dan Hedaya as Nick Tortelli, Jean Kasem as Loretta Tortelli, Roger Rees as Robin Colcord, Tom Skerritt as Evan Drake, and Harry Anderson as Harry the Hat. Other celebrities guest-starred in single episodes as themselves throughout the series. Some sports figures appeared on the show with a connection to Boston or Sam's former team, the Red Sox, such as Luis Tiant, Wade Boggs, and Kevin McHale (star player of the Boston Celtics). Some television stars also made guest appearances as themselves such as Alex Trebek, Arsenio Hall, Dick Cavett, and Johnny Carson. Some political figures even made appearances on Cheers such as then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William J. Crowe, former Colorado Senator Gary Hart, then-Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, Senator John Kerry, then-Governor Michael Dukakis, and then-Mayor of Boston Raymond Flynn (the last four of which all represented Cheers' home state and city). Musician Harry Connick, Jr. appeared in an episode as Woody's cousin and plays a song from his Grammy winning album We Are in Love (c. 1991). John Cleese won an Emmy for his guest appearance as "Dr. Simon Finch-Royce" in the fifth season episode, "Simon Says". Emma Thompson guest starred as Nanny Gee/Nanette Guzman, a famous singing nanny and Frasier's ex-wife. Christopher Lloyd guest starred as a tortured artist who wanted to paint Diane. The Righteous Brothers, Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley, also guest starred in different episodes.

Production

The concept for Cheers was the end result of a long consideration process. The original idea was a group of workers who interacted like a family, hoping to be similar to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. They considered making an American version of the British Fawlty Towers centered around a hotel or an inn. When the creators settled on a bar as their setting the show began to resemble the radio show Duffy's Tavern. They liked the idea of a tavern as it provided a continuous stream of new people arriving, giving them a constant supply of characters.

After choosing a plot, the three had to choose a location. Early discussions centered around Barstow, California, then Kansas City, Missouri. They eventually turned to the East Coast and Boston. The Bull & Finch Pub in Boston that Cheers was styled after was originally chosen from a phone book. When Glen Charles asked the owner to shoot initial exterior and interior shots the owner agreed, charging $1. He has since gone on to make millions, licensing the pub's image and selling a variety of Cheers memorabilia, making the Bull & Finch the 42nd busiest outlet in the American food and beverage industry in 1997. Coincidentally during Shelley Long's casting (who was in Boston at the time filming A Small Circle of Friends) she remarked that the bar in the script resembled a bar she had come upon in Boston, which turned out to be the Bull & Finch.

Most Cheers episodes were shot before a live studio audience on Paramount Stage 25, generally on Tuesday nights. Scripts for a new episode were issued the Wednesday before for a read-through, Friday was rehearsal day, and final scripts were issued on Monday. Nearly 100 crewmembers were involved in the shooting of a single episode. Burrows, who directed most episodes, insisted on shooting on film rather than videotape. He was also noted for using motion in his directorial style, trying to always keep characters moving rather than standing still.

Crew

The crew of Cheers numbered in the hundreds; as such, this section can only provide a brief summary of the many crewmembers for the show. The three creators — James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles — stayed on throughout the series as executive producers along with Tom Palmer. In fact, the two Charles brothers kept offices on Paramount's lot for the duration of Cheers run. In the final seasons, however, they handed over much of the show to Burrows. Burrows is regarded as being a factor in the show's longevity, directing 243 of the episodes and supervising the show's production. David Angell was also a part of the crew from the start, writing many Cheers episodes. The show was often noted for its writing which most credit along with other production factors and the ensemble cast for the show's success.

Awards

Over its eleven-season run, Cheers and its cast and crew earned many awards. Cheers earned 117 Emmy nominations, with a total of 28 wins. In addition, Cheers has earned 31 Golden Globe nominations, with a total of six wins. All ten of the actors who were regulars on the series received Emmy nominations for their roles. Cheers won the Golden Globe for "Best TV-Series - Comedy/Musical" in 1991 and the Emmy for "Outstanding Comedy Series" in 1983, 1984, 1989 and 1991. Cheers was presented with the "Legend Award" at the 2006 TV Land Awards, with many surviving cast members attending the event.

The following table summarizes awards won by the Cheers cast and crew.

Winner Award
Kirstie Alley Emmy, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1991)
Golden Globe, Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical (1991)
Ted Danson Emmy, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (1990, 1993)
Golden Globe, Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical (1990, 1991)
Woody Harrelson Emmy, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1989)
Shelley Long Emmy, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1983)
Golden Globe, Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical (1985)
Golden Globe, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV (1983)
Bebe Neuwirth Emmy, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1990, 1993)
Rhea Perlman Emmy, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1984, 1985, 1986, 1989)
John Cleese Emmy, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (1987)
Production Awards Emmy, Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series (1983, 1991)
Emmy, Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (1983, 1984)
Emmy, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Graphic Design and Title Sequences (1983)
Emmy, Outstanding Film Editing for a Series (1984)
Emmy, Outstanding Editing for a Series - Multi-Camera Production (1988, 1993)
Emmy, Outstanding Live and Tape Sound Mixing and Sound Effects for a Series (1985)
Emmy, Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special (1986, 1987, 1990)

Plot

For the full list of episodes, see List of Cheers episodes
Nearly all of Cheers took place in the front room of the bar, but they often went into the rear pool room or the bar's office. Cheers didn't show any action outside the bar until the first episode of the second season, which took the action to Diane's apartment. Cheers had some running gags, such as Norm arriving in the bar greeted by a loud "Norm!" Early episodes generally followed Sam's antics with his various women, following a variety of romantic comedy clichés to get out of whatever relationship troubles he was in for each episode. As the show progressed and Sam got into more serious relationships the general tone switched to comedy on Sam settling down into a monogamous lifestyle. Throughout the series, larger story arcs began to develop that spanned multiple episodes or seasons interspersed with smaller themes and one-off episodes.

Romance

The show's main theme in its early seasons was the romance between the intellectual waitress Diane Chambers and bar owner Sam Malone, a former major league baseball pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and a recovering alcoholic . After Long left the show, the focus shifted to Sam's new relationship with neurotic corporate climber Rebecca. Both relationships featured multi-episode "will they or won't they" sexual tension that drew viewers in. After Sam and Diane's courtship was consummated, the show's popularity grew greatly and subsequent TV shows now very commonly have such "will they or won't they" tensions between opposites.

Social issues

Many Cheers scripts centered around or were improved with a variety of social issues. As Toasting Cheers puts it:
The script was further strengthened by the writers' boldness in successfully tackling controversial issues such as alcoholism, homosexuality, and adultery.

Social class was a subtext of the show. The "upper class" - represented by characters like Diane Chambers, Frasier Crane, Lilith Sternin and (initially) Rebecca Howe — rubbed shoulders with middle and working class characters — Sam Malone, Carla Tortelli, Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin. An extreme example of this was the relationship between Woody Boyd and millionaire's daughter Kelly Gaines. Many viewers enjoyed Cheers in part because of this focus on character development in addition to plot development.

Feminism and the role of women were also recurring themes throughout the show, with some seeing each of the major female characters as a flawed feminist in her own way. Diane was a vocal feminist, but Sam was the epitome of everything she hated: a womanizer and a male chauvinist. Their relationship led Diane to several diatribes on Sam's promiscuity, while Carla merely insulted people. Carla was respected because of her power, while Diane was ignored as she commanded little respect. Rebecca was a stereotypical ambitious and golddigging woman, seeking relationships with her superiors at the Lillian Corporation, most notably Robin Colcord, to gain promotions or raises. However, she encountered a glass ceiling and ended the show by marrying a plumber rather than a rich businessman.

Homosexuality was dealt with from the very first season, a rare move for American network television in the early 1980s. In the first season episode "The Boys In The Bar" (after the 1970s film The Boys in the Band) a friend and former teammate of Sam's comes out in his autobiography. Some of the male regulars pressure Sam to take action to ensure that Cheers does not become a gay bar. The episode won a GLAAD Media Award, and the script's writers, Ken Levine & David Isaacs, were nominated for an Emmy Award for their writing. Harvey Fierstein would later appear in the 1990s as "Mark Newberger", Rebecca's old high school sweetheart who is gay. Finally, the final episode included a gay man who gets into trouble with his boyfriend (played by Anthony Heald) after agreeing to pose as Diane's husband.

Addiction also plays a role in Cheers, almost exclusively through Sam, although some critics believed the issue was never really developed. Sam was a recovering alcoholic who ended up buying a bar after his baseball career was ruined by his drinking. Frasier also has a notable bout of drinking in the fourth season episode "The Triangle." Some critics believe Sam was a generally addictive personality who had largely conquered his alcoholism but was still a sexual addict, shown through his womanizing.

Cheers owners

Cheers obviously had several owners before Sam, as the bar was opened in 1889 (The "Est. 1895" on the bar's sign is a made-up date chosen by Carla for numerological purposes as revealed in the 8th season episode "The Stork Brings a Crane"). In the second episode, "Sam's Women", Norm tells a customer looking for the owner of Cheers that the man he thought was the owner has been replaced, and his replacement was replaced by Sam. Then in a later episode Gus O'Mally comes back from Arizona for one night and runs the bar while Sam goes to a drive-in movie with the guys.

The biggest storyline surrounding the ownership of Cheers begins in the fifth season finale, "I Do, Adieu", when Sam and Diane part ways, Shelley Long leaves the regular cast, and Sam leaves to attempt circumnavigating the Earth. Before he leaves, Sam sells Cheers to the Lillian Corporation. Sam returns in the sixth season premiere, "Home is the Sailor", having sunk his boat, to find the bar under the new management of Rebecca Howe. He begs for his job back and is hired by Rebecca as a bartender. Throughout the sixth season, Sam tries a variety of schemes to buy back Cheers. This plot largely comes to an end in the seventh season premiere, "How to Recede in Business", when Rebecca is fired and Sam is promoted to manager. Rebecca is allowed to keep a job at Lillian vaguely similar to what she had before, but only after Sam had Rebecca "agree" (in absentia) to a long list of demands that the corporation had for her.

From there Sam would occasionally attempt to buy the bar back with schemes that usually involved wealthy executive Robin Colcord. Cheers did eventually end up back in Sam's hands in the eighth season finale, when it was sold back to him for eighty-five cents by the Lillian Corporation after he alerted the company of Colcord's insider trading. Fired by the corporation over her keeping quiet, Rebecca earns back a hostess/office manager job from Sam.

Other recurring themes

Aside from the storylines that spanned across the series, Cheers had several themes that followed no storylines but that recurred throughout the series. There was a heated rivalry between Cheers and the rival bar, Gary's Olde Towne Tavern. One episode of every season depicted some wager between Sam and Gary, which resulted in either a sports competition or a battle of wits that devolved into complex practical jokes. Aside from the very first and very last "Bar Wars" episodes, the Cheers gang almost always lost to Gary's superior ingenuity, though they managed to trick him into missing the annual Bloody Mary contest in one episode. Another episode had Sam collaborating with Gary's to get revenge on his co-workers on a prior practical joke. Sam also had a long-running feud with the management of the upscale restaurant situated directly above the bar, Melville's. The restaurant's management found the bar's clientele decidedly uncouth, while Sam regarded the restaurant as snobbish (despite the fact that customers often drifted between the two businesses via a prominent staircase). This conflict escalated in later seasons, when Melville's came under the ownership of John Allen Hill (Keene Curtis), and it emerged that Sam did not technically own the bar's poolroom and bathrooms. Sam subsequently was forced to pay rent for them and often found himself at the mercy of Hill's tyranny. Rebecca eventually bought the back section from Hill, making her and Sam partners in managing the bar.

Norm Peterson continually searched for gainful employment as an accountant but spent most of the series unemployed, thereby explaining his constant presence in Cheers at the same stool. The face of his wife, Vera, was never fully seen onscreen, despite a few fleeting appearances and a couple of vocal cameos. Cliff Clavin seemed unable to shake the constant presence of his mother, Esther Clavin (Frances Sternhagen). Though she did not appear in every episode, he would refer to her quite often, mostly as both an emotional burden and a smothering parent. Carla Tortelli carried a reputation of being both highly fertile and matrimonially inept. The last husband she had on the show, Eddie LeBec, was a washed-up ice hockey goaltender who ended up dying in an ice show accident. Carla later discovered that Eddie had cheated on her, marrying another woman after impregnating her. Carla's sleazy first husband, Nick Tortelli, also made frequent appearances, mostly to torment Carla with a new custody battle or legal scam that grew out of their divorce. Carla's eight children (four of whom were "born" during the show's run) were also notoriously ill-behaved.

Critical reactions

Cheers was critically acclaimed in its first season, though it landed a disappointing 74th out of only 74 shows in that year's ratings. This critical support, coupled with early success at the Emmys and the support of the president of NBC's entertainment division Brandon Tartikoff, is thought to be the main reason for the show's survival and eventual success. The cast themselves went across the country on various talk shows to try to further promote the series after its first season. With the growing popularity of Family Ties which ran in the slot ahead of Cheers from both shows' inceptions until the end of the former was moved to Sundays in 1987 and the placement of The Cosby Show in front of both at the start of their third season (1984), the line-up became a runaway ratings success that NBC eventually dubbed "Must See Thursday". The next season, Cheers ratings increased dramatically after Woody Boyd became a regular character as well. By its final season Cheers had a run of eight consecutive seasons in the Top Ten of the Nielsen ratings. Some critics now use Frasier and Cheers as a model of a successful spin-off for a character from an already successful series to compare to modern spin-offs.

NBC dedicated a whole night to the final episode of Cheers. The show began with a "pregame" show hosted by Bob Costas, followed by the final 98-minute episode itself. NBC affiliates then aired tributes to Cheers during their local newscasts, and the night concluded with a special Tonight Show broadcast live from the Bull & Finch Pub. Although the episode fell short of its hyped ratings predictions to become the most-watched television episode, it was the most watched show that year, bringing in 80.4 million viewers (64 percent of all viewers that night), and ranked 11th all time in entertainment programming. The episode originally aired in the usual Cheers spot of Thursday night and was then rebroadcast on Sunday. Some estimate that while the original broadcast did not outperform the M*A*S*H finale, the combined non-repeating audiences for the Thursday and Sunday showings did. Toasting Cheers also notes that television had greatly changed between the M*A*S*H and Cheers finales, leaving Cheers with a broader array of competition for ratings.

Ratings

  • 1982-1983
  • 1983-1984
  • 1984-1985:#13
  • 1985-1986:#5
  • 1986-1987:#3
  • 1987-1988:#3
  • 1988-1989:#4
  • 1989-1990:#3
  • 1990-1991:#1
  • 1991-1992:#4
  • 1992-1993:#9

Spin-offs, crossovers and cultural references

Some of the actors and actresses from Cheers brought their characters into other television shows, either in a guest appearance or in a new spin-off. The most successful Cheers spin-off was the show Frasier which directly followed Frasier Crane after he moved back to Seattle, Washington (on the other end of Interstate 90) to live with his recently-disabled father and to host a call-in radio show. Frasier was originally supposed to be a small disliked character who only existed to further Diane and Sam's relationship, but Kelsey Grammer's acting turned what were supposed to be unfunny lines into comedy the audience enjoyed. Sam, Diane and Woody all had individual crossover appearances on Frasier where they came to visit Frasier, and his ex-wife Lilith was a constant supporting character throughout Frasier. Cliff, Norm, Carla, and two of Cheers' regular background barflies Paul and Phil had a crossover together in the Frasier episode "Cheerful Goodbyes". In the episode Frasier, on a trip to Boston, meets the Cheers gang (not at Cheers itself however) and Cliff thinks Frasier has flown out specifically for his (Cliff's) retirement party, which Frasier ends up attending. Rebecca Howe is the only "Cheers" regular aside from Coach (whose actor, Nicholas Colasanto, had died, after which the character died in the series) to not appear on "Frasier". Frasier was on the air for as many seasons as Cheers, going off the air in 2004 after an eleven-season run. Although Frasier was the most successful spin-off, The Tortellis was the first series to spin-off from Cheers, premiering in 1987. The show featured Carla's husband Nick Tortelli and his wife Loretta, but was cancelled after 13 episodes and drew protests for its stereotypical depictions of Italian Americans.

In addition to direct spin-offs, several Cheers characters had guest appearance crossovers with other shows. In The Simpsons episode "Fear of Flying", Homer stumbles into a Cheers-like bar after being kicked out of Moe's. Most of the central cast appears in the episode, including Frasier (though ironically Frasier does not speak, as Grammer already had a recurring role on The Simpsons as Sideshow Bob). The tagline for Moe's Tavern "Where nobody knows your name" is also a reference to Cheers. Characters also had crossovers with Wings—which was created by Cheers producers/writers—and St. Elsewhere in a somewhat rare comedy-drama crossover. The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine character Morn, who remained mostly at Quark's Bar, is named (as an anagram) for Norm Peterson. The bar and its patrons were also featured in a scene in The Wonderful World of Disney TV special Mickey's 60th Birthday. The opening sequence and theme song has become iconic of the series, leading to parody such as on The Simpsons' episode "Flaming Moe's".

The Scrubs episode "My Life in Four Cameras" makes numerous jokes about Cheers and multicamera setup laugh track sitcoms. Scrubs is notable for using a single camera setup, no laugh track, and not being filmed before a live audience. Cheers had all four cameras, a laugh track and was filmed before a live studio audience, and a dream sequence in "My Life in Four Cameras" was shot with three cameras. In addition, the main patient treated was fictional Cheers writer "Charles James," a mixture of Cheers three creators James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles. The episode makes repeated comments about these "traditional" sitcoms and ends with the opening notes of the Cheers theme playing while J.D. says "Unfortunately, around here things don't always end as neat and tidy as they do in sitcoms.

In "The Ticket" episode of Seinfeld, Ted Danson's salary per episode of Cheers occasionally comes up as a point of debate between Jerry and George.

Licensing

Cheers was perhaps the first major non-science fiction TV series to have an important licensing campaign since I Love Lucy. The show lent itself naturally to the development of "Cheers" bar-related merchandise, culminating in the development of a chain of "Cheers" themed pubs. Paramount's licensing group, led by Tom McGrath, developed the "Cheers" pub concept initially in partnership with Host Marriott which placed "Cheers" themed pubs in 24+ airports around the world. A full-scale Cheers reproduction was built in Piccadilly Circus in London and Boston boasts of the original Cheers bar (historically known to generations of Boston insiders as the Bull and Finch) as well as a Cheers restaurant in the Faneuil Hall marketplace and Sam's Place, a spin-off sports bar concept also located at Faneuil Hall. The theme song to the show was licensed to a Canadian restaurant, Kelsey's

Syndication and home video

Cheers grew in popularity as it aired on American television and entered into syndication. When the show went off the air in 1993, Cheers was syndicated in 38 countries with 179 American television markets and 83 million viewers. Then, after going off the air, Cheers entered a long, successful, and continuing syndication run on Nick at Nite. While the quality of some earlier footage of Cheers had begun to degrade, it underwent a careful restoration in 2001 due to its continued success. Notably, a Cheers rerun replaced Australia's Naughtiest Home Videos on Australia's Nine Network. The latter was cancelled mid-episode on its only broadcast by Kerry Packer, who pulled the plug after a phone call. Cheers was aired by NCRV in the Netherlands. After the last episode, NCRV simply began re-airing the series, and then again, thus airing the show three times in a row, showing an episode nightly. The series now airs weekday mornings on TV Land and will premiere on Hallmark Channel in fall 2008.

DVD releases

CBS Home Entertainment has released the first 10 seasons of Cheers on DVD in Region 1.

In Region 2, only the first 6 seasons have been released on DVD.

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 2
The Complete 1st Season 22 May 20, 2003 November 24, 2003
The Complete 2nd Season 22 January 6, 2004 June 7, 2004
The Complete 3rd Season 25 May 25, 2004 September 6, 2004
The Complete 4th Season 26 February 1, 2005 July 18, 2005
The Complete 5th Season 26 May 17, 2005 November 27, 2006
The Complete 6th Season 25 September 13, 2005 May 14, 2007
The Complete 7th Season 22 November 15, 2005 N/A
The Complete 8th Season 26 June 13, 2006 N/A
The Complete 9th Season 26 April 29, 2008 N/A
The Complete 10th Season 25 September 2, 2008 N/A
The Complete 11th Season 26 January 27, 2009 N/A

Post-Cheers

Kelsey Grammer was arguably the most successful with his spin-off Frasier, which lasted for the same eleven-season run Cheers had, as well as a recurring guest role on The Simpsons as Sideshow Bob. By the final season of Frasier, Grammer had become the highest paid actor on television, earning about $1.6 million an episode.

Woody Harrelson has also had a successful career following Cheers, including appearances in a number of notable films that have established him as a box-office draw. He also earned an Academy Award nomination in 1997 for The People vs. Larry Flynt.

Ted Danson, who had been the highest paid Cheers cast member earning $450,000 an episode in the final season, has starred in the successful sitcom Becker as well as the unsuccessful sitcoms Ink and Help Me Help You and the drama series Damages. He has starred in a number of movies, including Three Men and a Baby and Made in America. Ted and his wife regularly play themselves on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Larry David's friends.

John Ratzenberger has voice acted in all of Pixar's computer-animated feature films and currently hosts the Travel Channel show Made in America. On Made in America he travels around the U.S. showing the stories of small towns and the goods they produce. Coincidentally, Ted Danson starred in a film also called Made in America. Ratzenberger is heavily involved in a charity known as the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation, which encourages children to get involved with tinkering and mechanical work, as well as to encourage schools to resurrect Industrial Arts programs. He also was on Dancing with the Stars.

Bebe Neuwirth has gone on to star in numerous Broadway musicals, earning two Tony Awards for her work, and co-star in numerous successful films. She also did voice work for All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 and All Dogs Go To Heaven the TV series.

Kirstie Alley starred in the TV series Veronica's Closet as well as numerous miniseries and film roles.

Although some believe Shelley Long leaving the show was a bad career move, she has gone on to star in several television and film roles, notably The Brady Bunch Movie and its sequels.

In addition to continuing careers after Cheers, some of the cast members have had personal problems. In 2004, Shelley Long grew depressed after divorcing her husband of 23 years and appears to have attempted suicide by overdosing on drugs. Kirstie Alley gained a significant amount of weight after Cheers, which somewhat affected her career. She went on to write and star in a sitcom partly based on her life and weight gain, Fat Actress. She formerly was a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig.

The Host Marriott Corporation installed 46 bars modeled after Cheers in their hotel and airport lounges. Paramount Pictures licensed the characters and details of the show, allowing the bars to have fake memorabilia such as Sam Malone's supposed jersey while playing for the Red Sox. Among the details Marriott included were two robots, "Bob" and "Hank", one of which was heavy (resembling Norm Peterson), with the other wearing a postal uniform (Cliff Clavin).

Ratzenberger and Wendt filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against Paramount in 1993 (around the time that Viacom purchased Paramount), claiming that the company was illegally licensing and earning off their images without their permission. Ratzenberger and Wendt claimed that Paramount could not earn off their images simply because the robots are dressed like the characters over which Paramount still holds rights. The case was dismissed by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge in 1996, though a federal judge reinstated the case in the Los Angeles court. Paramount tried to bring the case before the Supreme Court of the United States but the court refused to hear the case, instead merely reaffirming the ruling to reinstate the case in the Superior Court. Some believe the case could have had significant implications in Hollywood, as its outcome would have determined whether rights over a character imply rights to reproduce the actor's image with or without his or her permission, so long as the image is of the actor as the character. Rather, Paramount settled with the two before a ruling in the suit was delivered.

Outside the bar

The first year of the show took place entirely within the confines of the bar. (The first location outside the bar ever seen was Diane's apartment.) When the series became a hit, the characters started venturing further afield, first to other sets and eventually to an occasional exterior location. The exterior location shots of the bar were actually of the Bull & Finch Pub, located directly north of the Boston Public Garden, which has become a tourist attraction because of its association with the series and draws in nearly a million visitors annually. It has since been renamed Cheers Beacon Hill, though its interior is different from the TV bar. To further capitalize on the show's popularity, another bar, Cheers Faneuil Hall, was built to be a replica of the show's set to provide tourists with a bar whose interior was closer to the one they saw on TV. It is near Faneuil Hall, about a mile from the Bull & Finch Pub. The official Cheers site is www.cheersboston.com In 1997 Europe's first officially licensed Cheers bar opened in London's Regent's Street W1. Like Cheers Faneuil Hall, Cheers London is an exact replica of the set. The gala opening was attended by James Burrows and cast members George Wendt and John Ratzenberger. The actual bar set was on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum until the museum’s closing in early 2006.

References

(published date if available) (retrieval date)
Cheers. Created by James Burrows, Glen Charles and Les Charles. 1982–1993. Broadcast and DVD.

External links

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