This Was Television On September 16

1993: Frasier is listening

Spinoffs from a hugely popular, long-running series are rarely successful. Even more rare is a spinoff whose popularity and lifespan rival its parent show. That’s just what happened with Frasier, whose 11 seasons equal the tenture of Cheers and whose 37 Prime Time Emmy Awards (including five straight Outstanding Comedy Awards, from 1994–98) set a record. The NBC sitcom, which premiered on this date, transplanted Dr. Frasier Crane from the Boston bar to a family and professional life of his own in Seattle.

Portraying the pompous yet good-hearted psychiatrist for two decades, Kelsey Grammer boasts one of the longest tenures playing a single character in TV history. Over that same span, from 1982–2004, TV saw three Martas, two Becky Conners, two Fresh Prince’s Aunt Vivs, and at least 14 Snuffleupugi.  -A.D.

Also on September 16:

1963: The Outer Limits begins a two-season run on ABC. Part of a wave of shows in the early 1960s tinged with the paranormal, the sci-fi anthology series introduced each episode with a signature intonation: “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling the transmission…”

1970: The first season of McCloud begins on NBC. Dennis Weaver played the titular sheriff, who is relocated from New Mexico to New York City, blending the sensibilities of old-school Westerns and contemporary cop dramas.

Today’s Birthdays: Ed Begley, Jr., St. Elsewhere doc (63); Alexis Bledel, Stars Hollovian (31); Peter Falk, trenchcoat aficionado (d. 2011); Kurt Fuller, character actor (59); Allen Funt, cameraman (d. 1999); Amy Poehler, pride of Pawnee (41); Jennifer Tilly, Quahogian (54).

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