Cheers
Cheers
Cheers intro logo.jpg
Cheers title screen
Format Sitcom
Created by James Burrows
Glen Charles
Les Charles
Starring Ted Danson
Shelley Long
Kirstie Alley
Nicholas Colasanto
Rhea Perlman
John Ratzenberger
Woody Harrelson
Kelsey Grammer
Bebe Neuwirth
George Wendt
Theme music composer Gary Portnoy
Judy Hart Angelo
Opening theme "Where Everybody Knows Your Name"
Performed by Gary Portnoy
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 11
No. of episodes 275 (includes 3 specials and triple length finale)
(List of episodes)
Production
Running time 24 minutes
Production company(s) Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions
In Association With Paramount Network Television
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 30, 1982 –
May 20, 1993
Chronology
Followed by Frasier (1993–2004)
Related shows The Tortellis (1987)
Wings (1990-1997)

Cheers is an American situation comedy television series that ran for 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993. It was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions, in association with Paramount Network Television for NBC, and was 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, relax, chat and have fun. The show's theme song, written and performed by Gary Portnoy, and co-written with Judy Hart Angelo, lent its famous refrain, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", as the show's tagline.[1]

After premiering on September 30, 1982, it was nearly canceled during its first season when it ranked last in ratings for its premiere (77th out of 77 shows).[2] Cheers, however, eventually became a highly rated television show in the United States, earning a top-ten rating during 8 of its 11 seasons, including one season at #1. The show spent most 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 a then-record 117 nominations. The character Frasier Crane, played by Kelsey Grammer, was featured in his own successful spin-off, Frasier, which also ran for 11 seasons and included guest appearances by virtually all of the major, and some minor, Cheers characters. The only exceptions to this were Kirstie Alley and the deceased Nicholas Colasanto.

In 1997, the episodes "Thanksgiving Orphans" and "Home is the Sailor" were respectively ranked #7 and #45 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[3]

In 2002, Cheers was ranked No. 18 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.[4]

Contents

Cast

The main cast of Cheers after season 7
(from left to right): (top) John Ratzenberger, Roger Rees, Woody Harrelson (middle) Rhea Perlman, Ted Danson, Kirstie Alley, George Wendt (bottom) Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth.

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

Character Actor/Actress Role at Cheers Occupation(s) Duration Seasons
Sam Malone Ted Danson Bartender/Owner Former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox 1982–1993 1–11
Diane Chambers Shelley Long Waitress Graduate student 1982–1987 1–5
Rebecca Howe Kirstie Alley Manager, waitress Businesswoman, super[5] 1987-1993 6-11
Carla Tortelli Rhea Perlman Waitress Housewife 1982–1993 1–11
Ernie "Coach" Pantusso Nicholas Colasanto Bartender Former baseball player and coach 1982–1985 1–3
"Woody" Boyd Woody Harrelson Assistant Bartender[6] Actor; politician 1985–1993 4–11
Norm Peterson George Wendt Customer Accountant; interior decorator; house painter 1982–1993 1–11
Cliff Clavin John Ratzenberger Customer Mailman 1982–1993 1–11
Frasier Crane Kelsey Grammer Customer Psychiatrist 1984–1993 3–11
Lilith Sternin Bebe Neuwirth Customer Psychiatrist 1986–1993 4–11

The character of Sam Malone was originally intended to be a retired football player and was slated to be played by Fred Dryer, but after casting Ted Danson it was decided that a former baseball player (Sam "Mayday" Malone) would be more believable, given Danson's slimmer physique.[7] The character of Cliff Clavin was created for John Ratzenberger after he auditioned for the role of Norm Peterson, which eventually went to George Wendt. While chatting with producers afterward, he asked if they were going to include a "bar know-it-all", the part which he eventually played.[8] Kirstie Alley joined the cast when Shelley Long left (representing the only departure of a primary character throughout the series), and Woody Harrelson joined when Nicholas Colasanto died. Danson, Wendt and Rhea Perlman were the only actors to appear in every episode of the series.[9]

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' Gittes. 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).[10] Some television stars also made guest appearances as themselves such as Alex Trebek, Arsenio Hall, Dick Cavett, Robert Urich, and Johnny Carson. Various 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 whom all represented Cheers' home state and city. In a guest appearence in 1983, Glynis Johns played Diane's mother Mrs. Helen Chambers. In an episode that aired in 1985,Nancy Marchand played Frasier's mother, Hester Crane. Michael Richards portrays one of Sam's old drinking buddies, Eddie Gordon, who attempts to gain ownership of Cheers in the episode "Bar Bet".[11]

Musician Harry Connick, Jr. appeared in an episode as Woody's cousin[12] 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".[13] Emma Thompson guest starred as Nanny G/Nannette Guzman, a famous singing nanny and Frasier's ex-wife. Christopher Lloyd guest starred as a tortured artist who wanted to paint Diane. Marcia Cross portrayed Rebecca's sister Susan in the season 7 episode Sisterly Love. John Mahoney once appeared as an inept jingle writer, which included a brief conversation with Frasier Crane, whose father he later portrayed on the spin-off Frasier. Peri Gilpin who later played Roz Doyle on Frasier also appeared in one episode of Cheers, in its 11th season, as Holly Matheson, a reporter who interviews Woody. The Righteous Brothers, Lisa Kudrow, Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley, also guest starred in different episodes, and Kate Mulgrew appeared in the 3-episode finale of season four. In the final episode of Kirstie Alley's run as Rebecca, she was wooed away from Cheers by the guy who came to fix one of the beer keg taps – surprising for a "high-class" lady – who happened to be Tom Berenger. Leah Remini played one of Carla's daughters; Serafina Tortelli.[14]

Recurring characters

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".[15] Thomas Babson played "Tom", a law student often mocked by Cliff Clavin, for continually failing to pass the Massachusetts bar exam. "Al", played by Al Rosen, appeared in 38 episodes, and was known for his surly quips. Rhea Perlman's father Philip Perlman played the role of "Phil".

Production

Creation

Picture of Bull & Finch Pub in Boston in 2005. This view is similar to the opening credits of the show.

The concept for Cheers was the end result of a long process. The original idea was a group of workers who interacted like a family, the goal being a similar concept to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The creators considered making an American version of the British Fawlty Towers centered on 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.[2]

After choosing a setting, the creators needed to choose a location. Early discussions centered on Barstow, California, then Kansas City, Missouri. They eventually turned to the East Coast and finally 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 US$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.[citation needed] During initial casting, Shelley Long, who was in Boston at the time filming A Small Circle of Friends, remarked that the bar in the script resembled a bar she had come upon in the city, which turned out to be the Bull & Finch.[2]

Filming

Most Cheers episodes were shot before a live studio audience on Paramount Stage 25 in Hollywood, 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 crew members were involved in the shooting of any given episode. Burrows, who directed most episodes, insisted using film stock rather than videotape. He was also noted for utilizing motion in his directorial style, trying to constantly keep characters moving rather than standing still.[2]

Due to a decision by Glen and Les Charles, the cold open was often not connected to the rest of the episode, with the lowest-ranked writers assigned to create the jokes for them. Some cold opens were taken from episodes that ran too long.[16]

The first year of the show took place entirely within the confines of the bar, the first location outside the bar being 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 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 one million visitors annually.[2][17] It has since been renamed Cheers Beacon Hill,[18] though its interior is different from the TV bar.

To further capitalize on the show's popularity, another bar, Cheers Faneuil Hall,[19] 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. In 1997 Europe's first officially licensed Cheers bar opened in London's Regent's Street W1.[20] Like Cheers Faneuil Hall, Cheers London is a replica of the set. The gala opening was attended by James Burrows and cast members George Wendt and John Ratzenberger.[21] The actual bar set had been on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum until the museum’s closing in early 2006.[22]

Crew

The crew of Cheers numbered in the hundreds. The three creators, James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles[23] kept offices on Paramount's lot for the duration of the 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.[2] David Angell was also a part of the crew from the start, writing many Cheers episodes. The show was often noted for its writing,[2][24] which most credit, along with the ensemble cast and other production factors, for the show's success.

Awards

Over its 11-season run, the Cheers cast and crew earned many awards. The show garnered a record 111 Emmy Award nominations, with a total of 26 wins.[25] In addition, Cheers earned 31 Golden Globe nominations, with a total of six wins. Danson, Long, Alley, Perlman, Wendt, Ratzenberger, Harrelson, Grammer, Neuwirth, and Colosanto all 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. The series was presented with the "Legend Award" at the 2006 TV Land Awards, with many of the surviving cast members attending the event.[26]

The following are awards that have been earned by the Cheers cast and crew over its 11–season run:[13]

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, 1991)
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

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.[27] Cheers did not show any action outside the bar until the first episode of the second season, which took place in Diane's apartment.

Cheers had several 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 during each episode. As the show progressed and Sam got into more serious relationships, the general tone switched to a comedic take on Sam settling 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.[citation needed]

Romance

Sam and Diane kiss

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.[28] After Shelly Long (Diane) left the show, the focus shifted to Sam's new relationship with neurotic corporate ladder climber Rebecca. Both relationships featured sexual tension that spanned many episodes, which drew viewers to tune in during following weeks to see the results.[citation needed]

Social issues

Many Cheers scripts centered or touched upon a variety of social issues, albeit humorously. 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."[2]

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 a millionaire's daughter Kelly Gaines. Many viewers enjoyed Cheers in part because of this focus on character development in addition to plot development.[2][24]

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.[29] Diane was a vocal feminist, and 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.[2] Carla insulted people, but was respected because of her tough attitude, wit, and power, while Diane was often ignored as she commanded little respect in any successful way. Rebecca was a stereotypical ambitious businesswoman and gold-digger, seeking relationships with her superiors at the Lillian Corporation, most notably Evan Drake, to gain promotions or raises. She encountered a glass ceiling, however, and ended the show by marrying a plumber rather than a rich businessman. It was later revealed on Frasier that her husband struck it rich and left her, after which Rebecca returned to Cheers as a patron. Lilith was a high profile psychiatrist with many degrees and awards, and commanded respect with her strong and rather stern demeanor. Like Rebecca, she was an executive woman of the 1980s who put much emphasis on her professional life. She was often shown to have the upper hand in her and Frasier's relationship, and was portrayed as an ice queen, but proved to have a fiery libido and a maternal nature.[citation needed]

Homosexuality was dealt with from the very first season, a rare move for American network television in the early 1980s.[citation needed] 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,[9] and the script's writers, Ken Levine and David Isaacs, were nominated for an Emmy Award for their writing.[13] Harvey Fierstein later appeared 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.[citation needed]

Addiction also plays a role in Cheers, almost exclusively through Sam. Sam was a recovering alcoholic who had bought a bar during his drinking days. After he achieved sobriety, he decided to continue to own and operate the bar for "sentimental reasons."[30] Frasier also has a notable bout of drinking in the fourth season episode "The Triangle", while Woody develops a gambling problem in the seventh season's "Call Me Irresponsible". 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, for which he eventually got help. Norm's alcoholism (his bar tab was said to be compiled by NASA) was never a main focus of the show.[citation needed]

Cheers owners

The Cheers sign in 2005.

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, revealed in the 8th season episode "The Stork Brings a Crane". In the second episode, "Sam's Women", Coach tells a customer looking for Gus, the owner of Cheers, that Gus was dead and Sam now owned the bar. In a later episode, Gus O'Mally, however, comes back from Arizona for one night and helps run the bar.

The biggest storyline surrounding the ownership of Cheers begins in the fifth season finale, "I Do, Adieu", when Sam and Diane part ways, due to Shelley Long leaving the regular cast. In addition, Sam leaves in an attempt to circumnavigate the Earth. Before he leaves, however, Sam sells Cheers to the Lillian Corporation. He then 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. In the seventh season premiere, "How to Recede in Business", 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 (in absentia) "agree" to a long list of demands that the corporation had for her.

From there Sam occasionally attempted 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 to Colcord's insider trading. Fired by the corporation because of her silence on the issue, Rebecca earns back a hostess/office manager job from Sam.

Other recurring themes

In addition to extended story lines, Cheers had recurring themes. There was a heated rivalry between Cheers and a rival bar, Gary's Olde Towne Tavern, starting with the fourth season episode "From Beer to Eternity". Beginning in the sixth season, one episode of each 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. One episode had Sam collaborating with Gary's to get revenge on his co-workers on a prior practical joke. Another episode involved a pickup basketball game, in which Gary tricked the people of Cheers that a minor injury sustained by basketball great Kevin McHale was actually a season-ending injury.

Sam also had a long-running feud with the upscale restaurant above the bar, Melville's Fine Sea Food. The restaurant's management disliked the bar's patrons, while Sam regarded the restaurant as snobbish (though customers often moved between the two businesses via a prominent staircase). This conflict escalated after Melville's came under the ownership of John Allen Hill (Keene Curtis), as Sam did not technically own the bar's poolroom and bathrooms. Sam was subsequently forced to pay rent for them and often found himself at the mercy of Hill's tyranny. Rebecca eventually helped Sam buy the back section from Hill.[31]

In another recurring theme, 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, though he was not above leaving work early when he was employed. The face of his wife, Vera, was never fully seen onscreen, despite a few fleeting appearances and vocal cameos. She first appeared briefly in the fifth season episode "Thanksgiving Orphans" with her face covered in pumpkin-pie filling, portrayed by Bernadette Birkett, the wife of George Wendt.

Cliff Clavin seemed unable to shake the constant presence of his mother, Esther Clavin (Frances Sternhagen). He often referred to her, usually as an emotional burden and/or a smothering parent. Her first onscreen appearance was in the fifth season.

Finally, Carla Tortelli carried a reputation of being both highly fertile and matrimonially inept. Her last husband, Eddie LeBec, was a washed-up ice hockey goaltender who eventually died in an ice show accident involving a zamboni, an apparent homage to Chuckles the clown being "unshelled by a rogue elephant" in a Mary Tyler Moore episode written by David Lloyd. Carla later discovered that Eddie had cheated on her, marrying another woman after impregnating her. Carla's sleazy first husband, Nick Tortelli (Dan Hedaya), also made 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 notoriously ill-behaved, except for Lud, who was sired by a prominent academician.[citation needed] (This was shown on the show.)

Critical reactions

Cheers was critically acclaimed in its first season, though it landed a disappointing 74th out of 74 shows in that year's ratings.[32] 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.[25][33] 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 January 1984 until Family Ties 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 the end of its final season, Cheers had a run of eight consecutive seasons in the Top Ten of the Nielsen ratings;[2] seven of them were in the Top Five. Some critics[who?] 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.

Cheers began with a limited five-character ensemble consisting of Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Rhea Perlman, Nicholas Colasanto and George Wendt. By the time season 10 began, Cheers held 8 front characters in its roster. Cheers was also able to gradually phase in characters such as Cliff, Frasier, Lilith, Rebecca, and Woody. During season 1, only one set, the bar, housed all of the episodes. Later seasons introduced other sets, but the show's ability to center the action in the bar and avoid straying was notable.

NBC dedicated a whole night to the final episode of Cheers, following the one-hour season finale of Seinfeld (which was its lead-in). 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[34] (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.[citation needed] 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.[2]

Ratings

Season Rank (Ratings) Estimated Audience
(in millions)
Timeslot
1982–1983 #71[2] N/A Thursdays at 9:00/9:30 pm
1983–1984 N/A
1984–1985 Thursdays at 9:00 pm
1985–1986 #5 (23.7)[2][35] 20.35[35]
1986–1987 #3 (27.2)[2][36] 23.77[36]
1987–1988 #3 (26.8)[37] 20.73[37]
1988–1989 #4 (22.3)[38] 20.15[38]
1989–1990 #3 (22.7)[39] 20.90[39]
1990–1991 #1 (21.3)[2][40] 19.83[40]
1991–1992 #4 (17.5)[2][41] 16.11[41]
1992–1993 #8 (16.1)[2][42] 14.89[42]

As a Top 30 series, Cheers has an average rating of 22.2.

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 series. The most successful Cheers spin-off was the show Frasier, which directly followed Frasier Crane after he moved back to Seattle, Washington 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 drab lines into comedy the audience enjoyed.[43]

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 the show. Cliff, Norm, Carla, and two of Cheers' regular background barflies Paul and Phil, had a crossover together in the Frasier episode "Cheerful Goodbyes". In that episode, Frasier, on a trip to Boston, meets the Cheers gang (though not at Cheers itself) and Cliff thinks Frasier has flown out specifically for his (Cliff's) retirement party, which Frasier ends up attending.

Frasier was on the air for as many seasons and almost as many episodes as Cheers, going off the air in 2004 after an 11-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 ex-husband Nick Tortelli and his wife Loretta, but was canceled 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.

Woody, Cliff and Norm on The Simpsons
  • In The Simpsons episode "Fear of Flying", Homer stumbles into a Cheers-like bar after being kicked out of Moe's. Most of the Cheers central cast appears in the episode, including Frasier, though Frasier does not speak, as Kelsey Grammer already had a recurring role on The Simpsons as Sideshow Bob. The tag line for Moe's Tavern, "Where nobody knows your name", is also a reference to the theme song of Cheers.
  • Characters also had crossovers with Wings – which was created by the Cheers producer–writers – and St. Elsewhere in a somewhat rare comedy–drama crossover.[44]
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine character Morn, who remained mostly at Quark's Bar, is named, as an anagram, for Norm Peterson.[45]
  • The Scrubs episode "My Life in Four Cameras" makes numerous jokes about Cheers and multiple-camera setup laugh track sitcoms. Scrubs is notable for using a single-camera setup, having 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 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."[46]
  • In the How I Met Your Mother episode Swarley, a coffee shop employee accidentally writes "Swarley" on Neil Patrick Harris's character Barney's cup. This results in the rest of the cast jokingly calling him "Swarley" for the rest of the episode, much to his displeasure. At the end of the episode, Barney walks into the bar where everyone in the bar loudly greets him by saying "Swarley" followed by the bartender playing the Cheers theme song on a boom box on the counter. The credits at the end of the episode are presented in the same font as the credits from Cheers.

Licensing

The series 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 over 24 airports around the world. Boston boasts the original Cheers bar, historically known to 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 eventually licensed to a Canadian restaurant, Kelsey's Neighbourhood Bar & Grill.[47]

Syndication

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.[2] After going off the air,[17] Cheers entered a long and successful continuing syndication run[24] on Nick at Nite, later moving to TV Land in 2004. TV Land has since stopped airing reruns.

Cheers reruns were a programming staple on Boston's own WSBK-TV for many years. Paramount (as a subsidiary of Viacom) would later buy the station in 1995; it is now owned by CBS Television Stations.

The series began airing on Hallmark Channel in the United States in 2008, and WGN America in 2009, where it continues to air on both channels. In January 2011, Reelz Channel began airing the series in hour blocks. When the quality of some earlier footage of Cheers began to deteriorate, it underwent a careful restoration in 2001 due to its continued success.[48]

As of April 1, 2011, Netflix began including Cheers as one of the titles on its "watch instantly" streaming service

A Cheers rerun replaced Australia's Naughtiest Home Videos on Australia's Nine Network. The latter was canceled mid-episode on its only broadcast by Kerry Packer, who pulled the plug after a phone call. It was repeated several years later on the Nine Network shortly after Packer's death in 2005. Cheers currently airs on Eleven in Australia. 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.

High definition

A high-definition transfer of "Cheers" began running on HDNet in the United States in August 2010. Originally shot on film, but broadcast in a 4:3 aspect ratio, the newly transferred versions are in 16:9.

DVD releases

Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS DVD have released all 11 seasons of Cheers on DVD in Region 1 and Region 4.

In Region 2, only the first 7 seasons have been released on DVD. It is unknown if the remaining seasons will be released.

DVD Name Episodes Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete 1st Season 22 May 20, 2003 November 24, 2003 January 15, 2004
The Complete 2nd Season 22 January 6, 2004 June 7, 2004 May 6, 2004
The Complete 3rd Season 25 May 25, 2004 September 6, 2004 September 9, 2004
The Complete 4th Season 26 February 1, 2005 July 18, 2005 July 21, 2005
The Complete 5th Season 26 May 17, 2005 November 27, 2006 January 11, 2007
The Complete 6th Season 25 September 13, 2005 May 14, 2007 May 3, 2007
The Complete 7th Season 22 November 15, 2005 May 18, 2009[49] April 27, 2009
The Complete 8th Season 26 June 13, 2006 N/A April 27, 2009
The 9th Season 27 April 29, 2008 N/A April 27, 2009
The 10th Season 26 September 2, 2008 N/A April 27, 2009
The 11th & Final Season 28 January 27, 2009[50] N/A April 27, 2009
  • Region 2 release dates refer to the United Kingdom market only.
  • Region 4 season 7–11 releases were released exclusive to JB HI-Fi stores.
  • Seasons 9-11 were not released as being titled Complete. Therefore, scenes and music have been altered in these releases.

References

  1. ^ Gary Portnoy (2006). Portnoy's personal site
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Bjorklund, Dennis A. (1997). Toasting Cheers: An Episode Guide to the 1982–1993 Comedy Series, with cast biographies and character profiles. McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina. ISBN 978-0899509624. http://books.google.com/?id=hKbxOW2ONGEC&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=cheers+ranked+77th. 
  3. ^ "Special Collector's Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide (June 28–July 4). 1997. 
  4. ^ TV Guide Names Top 50 Shows
  5. ^ ^ "Look Before You Sleep". Cheers. NBC. April 1, 1993. No. 20, season 11. 19:10 minutes in the scene where Sam goes to Rebecca's apartment and then collapses outside. [door closes] ..."Now we're locked out." Sam: "So What?! Call Your Super!" Rebecca: "I AM the super."
  6. ^ "Don't Shoot...I'm Only the Psychiatrist". Cheers. NBC. January 2, 1992. No. 13, season 10. 14:55 minutes in. "It's your assistant bartender, good old Woody"
  7. ^ TV1 (2006). TV1 – Cheers
  8. ^ Newport Under the Stars (2005)(2006). John Ratzenberger's Newport Under the Stars
  9. ^ a b IMDb (2006). IMDb Trivia for Cheers
  10. ^ "Kevin McHale Bio". NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/history/players/mchale_bio.html. Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  11. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0539695/
  12. ^ IMDb (2006) (April 10, 2006). Full Episode Casts
  13. ^ a b c IMDb (2006). Awards for Cheers
  14. ^ "Loathe and Marriage" IMDB episode entry
  15. ^ IMDb (2006). Trivia for Paul Willson
  16. ^ Levine, Ken (2011-01-28). "My favorite CHEERS teaser". kenlevine.blogspot.com. http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-favorite-cheers-teaser.html. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  17. ^ a b International Real Estate Digest (August 20, 2001) (2006). Boston Gets a Hollywood Cheers Pub
  18. ^ Cheers Boston (2006). Cheers Beacon Hill
  19. ^ Cheers Boston (2006). Cheers Faneuil Hall
  20. ^ Cheers London (2003). Cheers London
  21. ^ USA Today (September 23, 1997).
  22. ^ Hollywood Entertainment Museum (2006). Hollywood Entertainment Museum
  23. ^ IMDb (2006). Full Cast and Crew.
  24. ^ a b c The Museum of Broadcast Communications (2006).
  25. ^ a b BBC (July 4, 2003) (2006). Cheers – the TV Series
  26. ^ "TV Land Honors Cheers, Dallas, Good Times, and Batman" for SitcomsOnline on February 22, 2006. Retrieved March 21, 2006.
  27. ^ "Why `Cheers` Looks Sharp Each Week". Chicago Tribune. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1986-03-30/entertainment/8601230357_1_ted-danson-kiss-les-and-glen-charles. Retrieved 2010-10-30. 
  28. ^ Television Heaven (2002)(2006). Cheers – A Television Heaven Review
  29. ^ Dr. Caren Deming. "Talk: Gender Discourse in Cheers!" in Television Criticism: Approaches and Applications edited by Leah R. Vande Berg and Lawrence A Wenner. White Plains, NY: Longman, 1991. 47–57. The essay is co-authored by Mercilee M. Jenkins, who teaches at San Francisco State University.
  30. ^ IMDb Plot Summary of Cheers
  31. ^ "Crash of the Titans". Cheers. NBC. February 21, 1991. No. 19, season 9. 21:44 minutes in.
  32. ^ TVParty (2006). How NBC got its Groove back
  33. ^ Variety (May 20, 2003) (2006). Review – Cheers
  34. ^ "May Sweeps: Season Finales and TV Specials". http://television.aol.com/feature/may-sweeps/photos-quizzes/most-watched-finales. Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  35. ^ a b "TV Ratings: 1985–1986". ClassicTVHits.com. http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/1985.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  36. ^ a b "TV Ratings: 1986–1987". ClassicTVHits.com. http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/1986.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  37. ^ a b "TV Ratings: 1987–1988". ClassicTVHits.com. http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/1987.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  38. ^ a b "TV Ratings: 1988–1989". ClassicTVHits.com. http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/1988.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  39. ^ a b "TV Ratings: 1989–1990". ClassicTVHits.com. http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/1989.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  40. ^ a b "TV Ratings: 1990–1991". ClassicTVHits.com. http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/1990.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  41. ^ a b "TV Ratings: 1991–1992". ClassicTVHits.com. http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/1991.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  42. ^ a b "TV Ratings: 1992–1993". ClassicTVHits.com. http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/1992.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  43. ^ Poobala (2006). Notes on Cheers / Frasier crossovers
  44. ^ Poobala (2006). Notes on Cheers / St. Elsewhere crossover
  45. ^ TV Acres (January 24, ????) (2006). Nor-r-rm!
  46. ^ (March 10, 2005) (2006) Chicago Tribune. Cheers to "Scrubs"
  47. ^ Kelsey's Launches Ad Campaign with Cheers TV Theme Song: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance[dead link]
  48. ^ "Cheers restored for a new generation of laughs". http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/newsletters/inCamera/oct2001/cheers.shtml. Retrieved 2006-00-00. Kodak. October 2001. http://www.kodak.com/country/US/en/motion/newsletters/inCamera/oct2001/cheers.shtml. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  49. ^ "Product Information at". Play.com. 2009-02-21. http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/8986410/Cheers-Season-7/Product.html. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  50. ^ "Season 11 DVD release announcement". Tvshowsondvd.com. 2007-05-25. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Cheers-Season-11/10655. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 

External links


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  • cheers — [ t̮ʃi:… ] <Interj.> [engl., zu: cheer, ↑ cheerio]: prosit, zum Wohl …   Universal-Lexikon

  • cheers — [tʃıəz US tʃırz] interjection 1.) used when you lift a glass of alcohol before you drink it, in order to say that you hope the people you are drinking with will be happy and have good health 2.) BrE informal thank you 3.) BrE informal goodbye …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cheers — salute or toast when taking a drink, British, 1919, from plural of CHEER (Cf. cheer) (also Cf. CHEERIO (Cf. cheerio)). Earlier it is recorded as a shout of support or encouragement (1720). The old English greeting what cheer was picked up by… …   Etymology dictionary

  • cheers — ► EXCLAMATION informal 1) expressing good wishes before drinking. 2) chiefly Brit. said to express gratitude or on parting …   English terms dictionary

  • cheers — [chirz] interj. good health: used as a toast …   English World dictionary

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