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Cheers is an American situation comedy television series that ran for 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, Massachusettsmarker, 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 last in ratings for its premiere (77th out of 77 shows). 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 273 episodes have been successfully syndicated worldwide, and have earned 28 Emmy Awards from a then-record 117 nominations. The character Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) was featured in his own successful spin-off, Frasier, which included guest appearances by all of the major Cheers characters, except for Kirstie Alley and the deceased Nicholas Colasanto.

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 relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox 1982-1993
Diane Chambers Shelley Long Waitress Author; graduate student 1982-1987
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 (Sam "Mayday" Malone) 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 Peterson. While chatting with producers afterwards, he asked if they were going to include a "bar know-it-all", the part which he eventually played. The role of Norm went to George Wendt. Kirstie Alley joined the cast when Shelley Long left, 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.

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). Some television stars also made guest appearances as themselves such as Alex Trebek, Arsenio Hall, Dick Cavett, Robert Urich, 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 Coloradomarker 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). 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. John Mahoney once appeared as an inept jingle writer, which included a brief conversation with Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), whose father he would later play 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, Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley, also guest starred in different episodes, and Kate Mulgrew in the last 3 episodes of Season 4 Episode Title: Strange Bedfellows (3 Parts). In the final episode of Kirstie Alley's run as Rebecca, she was literally wooed away from Cheers by the guy who came to fix one of the beer keg taps - surprising for a "high-class" lady - but it happened to be Tom Berenger.

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". 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

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 Britishmarker 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, Californiamarker, then Kansas City, Missourimarker. They eventually turned to the East Coast and Boston. The Bull & Finch Pubmarker 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. During the casting of Shelley Long (who was in Boston at the time filming A Small Circle of Friends), Long 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 any given 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 only provides a brief summary of the many crewmembers for the show. The three creators — James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles. In fact, the two Charles brothers 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. 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 a record 111 Emmy Award nominations, with a total of 26 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

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

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. 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.

Social issues

Many Cheers scripts centered around or touched on 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."

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 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 golddigger, 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. It is later revealed on Frasier that her husband would strike it rich and leave her, upon which Rebecca returned to Cheers as a patron. Lilith was a high profile psychatrist 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 often was portrayed 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 an emotionally maternal nature.

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 and 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", 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, which he eventually got help for.

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 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, who sold the bar to Sam, 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, 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. 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 "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 since fourth season episode "From Beer to Eternity". Starting with the sixth season 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. She first appeared shortly in the fifth season episode "Thanksgiving Orphans" with her whole face being covered in cake. 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. Her first onscreen appearance was in the fifth season. 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 involving a zamboni. 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, save Lud, who was sired by a prominent academician.

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 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 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.

Cheers began with a limited five-character ensemble consisting of Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Rhea Perlman, Nicolas Colasanto and George Wendt. By the time season 10 began, Cheers held 8 front characters in its roster. What was notable about Cheers was its ability 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 would introduce 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. 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.

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 Seattlemarker, Washingtonmarker (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 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. Rebecca Howe is the only living Cheers regular to not appear on Frasier, because of her belief in Scientology, which rejects psychiatry . 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 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 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 the theme song of Cheers.
  • Characters also had crossovers with Wings—which was created by Cheers producers–writers—and St. Elsewhere in a somewhat rare comedy–drama crossover.
  • Norm once appeared as a background character buying beer at the counter of a convenience store in the Futurama episode The Route of All Evil. His only line is a direct quote from Cheers, when he's asked by the clerk "Would you like anything else, Sir?" and responds "A reason to live. Give me another beer."
  • 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 two Disney specials, a scene in The Wonderful World of Disney TV special Mickey's 60th Birthday, and The Magical World of Disney 's Disneyland 35th Anniversaray Special, in which Woody recounts an adventure his young self had on The Haunted Mansion.
  • 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 Simpsons series as also used "Cheers" Opening sequence in the couch gag of the eleventh episode of the twentieth season, along with other famous sitcoms.
  • 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."
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Ticket", Ted Danson's salary per episode of Cheers comes up as a point of debate between Jerry and George. Additionally, George Wendt appears as himself on a talk show in the episode "The Trip." George Costanza gives him advice on how to improve "Cheers" by saying they should change from the bar setting, but George Wendt makes fun of him for it on the air.
  • At the close of the How I Met Your Mother episode "Swarley," all of the customers in the show's bar call out "Swarley," a nickname for Neil Patrick Harris's character Barney Stinson, as he enters. The bartender then plays the Cheers theme song and the credits run in the Cheers typeface and color.
  • In the video game Tony Hawk's Underground 2, when you start the game in Boston, there is bar called "Jeers" and it is modeled after the "Cheers" bar, both inside and out. This is where you must find the special guest in the game, who is Jesse James.
  • In Season 3 Episode 6 of The Office, Diwali, Andy Bernard refers to his relationship with Karen Filipelli as "Roller coastery friendship. Hot, cold, on-again, off-again, sexual tension-filled type of deal. It's very Sam and Diane." to Jim Halpert.




Licensing

Cheers was perhaps the first major TV series outside science fiction or children's television 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. Boston boasts 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 Neighbourhood Bar & Grill.

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, then moving to TV Land in 2004. TV Land has since stopped airing reruns. Then, the series began airing on Hallmark Channel in the United Statesmarker in 2008, and WGN America in 2009, where it continues to air on both channels. 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 Netherlandsmarker. 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. On July 4, 2009, Nick at Nite announced it will relaunch Cheers in the summer of 2010.

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.

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 April 27, 2009
The Complete 8th Season 26 June 13, 2006 N/A April 27, 2009
The 9th Season 26 April 29, 2008 N/A April 27, 2009
The 10th Season 25 September 2, 2008 N/A April 27, 2009
The 11th & Final Season 26 January 27, 2009 N/A April 27, 2009


  • Region 2 release dates refer to the United Kingdommarker 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.


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, such as White Men Can't Jump, Natural Born Killers, Indecent Proposal, Kingpin and No Country for Old Men. 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 currently appears in the successful drama series Damages. He has starred in a number of movies, including Cousins, Three Men and a Baby and Made in America. Ted and his wife (actress Mary Steenburgen) regularly play themselves on Curb Your Enthusiasm as Larry David's friends. In 2009, Danson co-starred in the HBO series "Bored to Death" as a high power magazine editor and boss of Jonahtan Ames.

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 musicalsmarker, most notably the mid-90's Chicago revival, 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 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 weight loss and nutrition company 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 Statesmarker 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 Hollywoodmarker, 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 Pubmarker, located directly north of the Boston Public Gardenmarker, 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 Hallmarker, 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 used to be 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.


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