Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name! The critically acclaimed sitcom Cheers aired from 1982 to 1993, following a group of locals who hung out at a Boston bar of the same name.
“Everything I do is because of the popularity of that show,” Ted Danson said of the series during a September 2022 interview with Entertainment Tonight. “It still makes me laugh when I watch sometimes. It’s funny and it’s great to see my friends and they make me laugh.”
Danson played the bar’s owner and head bartender, Sam Malone, a former Boston Red Sox relief pitcher. For the first five seasons, his character had an on-again, off-again relationship with Diane Chambers (Shelley Long). During one of their off periods, Diane dated psychiatrist and bar regular Frasier Cane (Kelsey Grammer). Sam, for his part, pursued savvy businesswoman Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley) after Long left the show during season 5.
Despite her early exit, Long returned for the series finale.
“It was a dream to have Diane come back. To have the show end the right way, you kind of needed to get some closure on that relationship,” Cheers co-executive producer Rob Long told Variety in May 2018. “I think it was one of those things where people thought, ‘Well, the only thing we can do is ask.’ You can’t get a ‘yes’ until you ask a question. But she was an incredible trooper about it.”
Series writer Ken Levine added: “Of course, there’s the debate that’s still raging as to whether or not Sam and Diane should’ve gotten together at the end or not. I know there were a lot of people that were disappointed and were just kind of hoping for that fairytale ending of Sam and Diane riding off into the sunset happily ever after, but the decision was ultimately made for them to be apart, and I have to say that I agree with that decision.”
Despite the lead characters’ undeniable chemistry, Cheers was first and foremost an ensemble show. Nicholas Colasanto, Rhea Perlman and George Wendt rounded out the original main cast as “Coach” Ernie Pantusso, Carla Tortelli and Norm Peterson, respectively.
The show’s co-creators, brothers Les Charles and Glen Charles, thought a bar was the perfect setting to explore human nature.
“A bar is a place where everything that happens in life can end up. You go to celebrate, drown your sorrows, meet and fall in love, break up. It’s an interesting spot for human dynamics,” Les told The Hollywood Reporter in May 2018.
Scroll through to see what the cast of Cheers is doing now: