Many of “Frasier’s” all-time greatest episodes feature guest appearances by Bebe Neuwirth as Lilith Sternin, the icy-cold ex-wife of Kelsey Grammer’s title character. And the crew behind the the upcoming Paramount+ revival of the beloved sitcom clearly knows it, because Neuwirth is reprising her role for a guest spot in the new series, IndieWire has confirmed.
Neuwirth is the first cast member from the original Emmy-winning series — which ran from 1993 to 2004 on NBC — aside from series star Grammer who has been confirmed to return for the upcoming show. According to the logline for the episode provided by Paramount+, the episode will focus on a reunion between Lilith and Frasier at the birthday party of their son Frederick, or “Freddy” (Jack Cutmore-Scott): “Lilith, in classic form, is far from pleased about having to share Freddy now that Frasier is back living in Boston. What begins as a fun party with friends and family, inevitably becomes a Lilith-and-Frasier showdown for the ages.”
Neuwirth, who is also known for her Tony-winning work on Broadway in “Chicago” and “Sweet Charity,” first played Lilith, a Boston-based psychiatrist with a rigidly logical approach to life, in “Frasier’s” parent series “Cheers.” Initially a guest character for one Season 4 episode in 1986, Lilith eventually became a staple at the show’s eponymous bar and the main love interest of Grammer’s Frasier, another erudite psychiatrist, on the program. Neuwirth picked up two Emmy Awards for Supporting Comedy Actress for her performance in 1990 and 1991.
After the bumpy ride between the two in the original show — they married in a 1988 episode, had their child Frederick in 1989, and nearly divorced but eventually reconciled in the final season — Lilith and Frasier permanently divorced in between “Cheers” and the spin-off, with Doctor Crane moving to his Seattle hometown. Lilith and Frederick (originally played by Trevor Einhorn) remained frequent drop-in characters on the program; Neuwirth made 12 appearances over the show’s 11 seasons, in plotlines that focused on her visiting Seattle and wreaking havoc on Frasier’s personal life, with everything from trying to get back together with him to sleeping with his brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce).
The revival series is set to follow Frasier’s relationship with his now-adult son Frederick back in Boston. “Oppenheimer” and “Tenet” actor Cutmore-Scott takes over the role, with the character description teasing Freddy being a “nuanced combination” of Frasier and his father Martin, played by the late John Mahoney. Per an official series synopsis, Freddy rejected following in his father’s footsteps — dropping out of college to become a fireman — and he’s never looked back until now, when recent troubles have left him with no one to turn to in his life. If they can overcome past differences, Freddy and Frasier might finally have a chance to repair old wounds.
“He has some relationship with his son that maybe needs some work and that’s kind of where we’re headed,” Grammer teased in an interview with L.A. Mag.
Most of the original “Frasier” cast, namely including Hyde Pierce, won’t be returning for the streaming revival. In addition to Grammer and Cutmore-Scott, the “Frasier” revival also stars Nicholas Lyndhurst, Toks Olagundoye, Jess Salgueiro, and Anders Keith. James Burrows, the “Cheers” co-creator, is on deck to direct the first two episodes of the show.
The “Frasier” revival comes from Chris Harris and Joe Cristalli, who executive produce with Grammer, Tom Russo, and Jordan McMahon. CBS Studios produces the series in association with Grammer’s Grammnet NH Productions.
In addition to the upcoming Grammer reunion, Neuwirth currently stars with Hyde Pierce on the HBO Max dramedy series “Julia,” which premiered last March and has been renewed for a second season.
Variety was the first to report on Neuwirth’s return to “Frasier.”
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