Kelsey Grammer hasn’t yet had time to come to grips with the loss of his prime-time sitcom “Frasier.”

“We shot the last one, so, once (the airing is) over with, I suppose it will be time for all that series of emotions to settle in and be dealt with,” Grammer said Monday.

“Frasier” ends its 11-season run on May 11, with a one-hour episode starting at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC.

The network will air a “Frasier” retrospective at 8 that night leading into the finale.

Grammer, who has played Dr. Frasier Crane for 20 years – first on “Cheers” then on “Frasier” – won’t give away details of the finale other than to say there will be a wedding.

The story line leading up to the finale has a character played by Wendie Malick getting hitched to Frasier’s father, played by John Mahoney.

Grammer said he wanted the finale to “leave everybody in a place where they were hopeful.”

Still, he characterized the final show taping as emotional.

“It took us six hours to shoot it,” Grammer said. “But come the fifth or six hour, we were all ready to get out of there.”

“Frasier” launched in 1993 as a spinoff of “Cheers,” the wildly popular comedy set in a Boston bar. Producers then took Grammer’s Frasier and transplanted him to Seattle, where he was surrounded by family.

Over the years, the program had been critically acclaimed as a smart, sophisticated comedy.

However, unlike “Friends,” which was a blockbuster anchor for NBC on Thursdays, “Frasier” moved around the schedule and never quite gained the same mass audience.

Grammer, who also produces UPN’s “Girlfriends,” said he’s not sure reality-crazed networks would go for a show like his today.

“I’m not sure sophisticated comedy has a place on television anymore,” he said. “I’m not sure the networks are interested.”

Right now, he said, “no one has cracked the nut of how to get viewership without being sensational or crass.”

Television viewing patterns are cyclical and, eventually, audiences will want something other than reality, he said.

For now, though, he knows well the impact of the genre. Several years ago, Fox went up against “Frasier” with a show about animals attacking their owners and it took a bite of the NBC audience.

“That’s pretty much been expanded on and taken into worse places,” he said. “Unfortunately, audiences are responding, and continue to respond, to people behaving badly.”

Grammer doesn’t have a detailed plan for his post-“Frasier” future. He’ll be an actor, producer or director for hire, he said.

And “Frasier,” of course, will live on in syndication.

“I think – this is a hope on my part – that it’s a bit like “The Honeymooners,”‘ he said using the classic Jackie Gleason comedy as an example. “That even though you’ve seen the show 100 times, it’s still watchable, and you’ll find things that will surprise you.”

(c) 2004, New York Daily News.

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Kelsey Grammer

AP-NY-04-27-04 1134EDT

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