There was good news and bad news for Cheers during its third season. In the former category, the series continued to climb upward in the ratings (thanks largely to the goodwill engendered by NBC's most popular Thursday-night series The Cosby Show), sharing 12th place with ABC's Hotel. The sitcom also took home two more Emmys -- Outstanding ...
There was good news and bad news for Cheers during its third season. In the former category, the series continued to climb upward in the ratings (thanks largely to the goodwill engendered by NBC's most popular Thursday-night series The Cosby Show), sharing 12th place with ABC's Hotel. The sitcom also took home two more Emmys -- Outstanding Supporting Actress (the second such award for Rhea Perlman) and Outstanding Live and Tape Sound Mixing and Sound Effects (Douglas Gray, Michael Balin, and Thomas J. Huth for the episode entitled "The Executive's Executioner") -- in addition to ten other nominations. In the "bad news" category, the cast and crew were forced to bid farewell to one of the series' most beloved regulars, who died all too soon. Picking up where season two left off, the romance between Sam Malone (Ted Danson) and Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) was kaput thanks to a foolish argument. Recovering alcoholic Sam crawled back into the bottle and Diane briefly had herself committed to a mental institution, where she was placed under the care of imperious, insufferable Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer, inaugurating a role which he would play for the next two decades in two different series). Once Sam had come to terms with the loss of Diane and had sobered up, he had to deal with the fact that Diane and Frasier were now lovers. By season's end, the couple had embarked upon a working vacation to Europe, where Frasier finally popped the question -- but would the notoriously mercurial Diane accept his proposal? And back at Cheers in Boston, the still-unmarried Carla (Perlman) was pregnant yet again (for the sixth time). Amidst all this comic intrigue, the ineffable Coach (Nicholas Colasanto), Cheers' venerable bartender, emerged as the sole spokesman for calm and reason. Alas, actor Colasanto was suffering from cancer, and died February 12, 1985, shortly after completing work on the episode entitled "The Executive's Executioner" (for which the actor received a posthumous Emmy nomination). Rather than have the character die, as well, the producers went through an elaborate charade during the season's climactic episodes, explaining away Coach's absences with a multitude of lame excuses, or having him briefly show up via outtakes from earlier episodes. Perhaps this was done to avoid an excess of melancholy, or simply to keep the audience's attention on the Sam-Diane-Frasier triangle which determined the outcome of the third-season finale. Hal Erickson, Rovi
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