- David Hyde Pierce did not return for the Frasier reboot because he wanted to do other things, despite loving his time on the original series.
- Timing played a role in his decision, as he was already committed to other projects, including a musical.
- Pierce believes the show doesn’t need him, as Frasier has moved on to a new world with new characters, although some critics argue that his character, Niles, is sorely missed.
David Hyde Pierce is opening up about his absence in Paramount’s Frasier reboot. Since the revival’s confirmation in 2021, fans of the original series delighted in the idea of seeing the Crane siblings back together again. Equal parts hilarious and snooty, Pierce’s Niles was the perfect scene partner for Grammer’s Frasier; for Frasier enthusiasts, watching the two on-screen was nothing short of magic. Through its 11-season run, the show earned 37 Primetime Emmy Awards, with Pierce winning four Emmys for his portrayal of Niles Crane. Despite that acclaim, returning for the revival was just not in the cards for Pierce. In a recent conversation with the Los Angeles Times, he revealed:
I never really wanted to go back. It’s not like I said, ‘Oh, I don’t ever want to do that again.’ I loved every moment. It was that I wanted to do other things.
Timing was a contributing factor to his decision. According to Pierce, when talks for the Frasier reboot revved up, he had just started working on Max’s Julia as the titular character’s husband, Paul Child (he also portrays Paul’s twin brother in the second season of the series) and was also “working on a musical and going to do another musical.”
“I just thought, ‘I don’t want to be committed to a show and not be able to do stuff like this.’ And I also thought, ‘They don’t actually need me.’ Frasier has moved on to a new world. They have new characters. And I think I’m right. It’s doing great. And the new people they have are great.”
As Pierce mentions, the Frasier reboot features a talented cast, including Grammer as the beloved Frasier and celebrated actor Nicholas Lyndhurst as Frasier’s college friend, Professor Alan Cornwall. Despite that, Pierce’s statement that the show doesn’t need him is contested by numerous critics (even NME’s James Mottram, who gave the revival a positive review, notes that “the genius that is David Hyde Pierce’s Niles is sorely missed.”)
The Frasier Revival Was Supposed to Center on Frasier and Niles
- Release Date
- September 16, 1993
The revival follows Frasier’s life, now back in Boston where his character was first introduced on Cheers, after the death of his father, Martin (portrayed in the original NBC series by John Mahoney, who passed away in 2018) and a difficult breakup. Although he is just passing by to visit his son, Freddy, Frasier decides to stay in Bean City to mend his relationship with Freddy and tackle a new position. According to Joe Cristalli — who serves as showrunner alongside Chris Harris — the original idea for the revival series revolved around the Crane brothers:
“For a long time, the idea was that Frasier and Niles were going to run a black-box theater, like how they bought that restaurant and brought it back to life. But it’s hard for Frasier and Niles to run the theater when you don’t have Niles, so we had to step back from that, “Cristalli told Vulture.
While Niles and Daphne (Jane Leeves) were missing, Grammer was joined in the Paramount series by two castmates from the original series: Bebe Neuwirth and Peri Gilpin, reprising the roles of Dr. Lilith Sternin and Roz Doyle, respectively, and appearing as guest stars in the new series.
Frasier, starring Grammer, Lyndhurst, Jack Cutmore-Scott, Toks Olagundoye, Anders Keith, and Jess Salgueiro, airs Thursdays on Paramount+.