Transcript: Twenty Years of 'Frasier'

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 21, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Joining us now, the star of the hit show "Frasier,"  Emmy-award winning actor Kelsey Grammer. How are you doing?

KELSEY GRAMMER, ACTOR: Hi, Sean, good to see you.

HANNITY: Very nice to see you. How many years now have you been on?

GRAMMER: This is my 20th year.

HANNITY: That's unprecedented for anybody in your industry to a run that long.

GRAMMER: Well, James Arness (search) was on television for 20 years.

HANNITY: Pretty long time?

GRAMMER: It's a long time.

HANNITY: If you want…this is your last season for "Frasier"?


HANNITY: If you wanted to, could you keep it going, the ratings are still strong.

GRAMMER: Well, I don't know. Well the truth, is NBC has the opportunity to step up to the plate and say we would like the show to stay on the air but they have not said so.

HANNITY: So in other words, we're negotiating.

GRAMMER: No, no no. We're very comfortable with the idea of ending the show this year. It means, like a jumping off place to a new life.

HANNITY: I remember when you were on "Cheers," then you go from one hit to another. That does not happen to many people in your industry.

GRAMMER: No, I was very fortunate. Bob Newhart (search) and...

HANNITY: Yes, that's true.

GRAMMER: …has been on about 20 successful shows.

I'm not sure that guy exists anymore.

HANNITY: He was great.

GRAMMER: Yes, he's fantastic.

HANNITY: He was great. How did you … you were a young guy when you got into acting.


HANNITY: How old were you when you started?

GRAMMER: Seventeen.

HANNITY: And what drew you, besides the good-looking women, what drew you to it?

GRAMMER: Well, the truth is actually, I had been a surfer all my life. That was really my first love, and then I did a play in high school. And I liked the sound of the applause and I liked the work. It was … I hadn't realized it, but I had been an observer of human behavior all my life.


GRAMMER: And I was logging information.

HANNITY: Oh no...

GRAMMER: Well, I love watching you guys. This is what we do. And then I thought, well, if I have any luck at all, and I have some talent, I should start in this soon because then I can figure out if I have got to change. And, fortunately enough, I went to Julliard, they threw me out after two years. And then I got my first job about eight months later.

HANNITY: I was watching you on "Regis and Kelly" this morning. You have a 2-year-old baby girl at home.


HANNITY: I have a 2-year-old.

GRAMMER: Little May, yes.

HANNITY: All right. You're on a political show now.

GRAMMER: Right. I know. I'm nervous as hell.

HANNITY: You are not nervous. Get out of here. Are you interested in politics?

GRAMMER: I've always thought that since I did not serve in the military and since I was raised by a military man, my grandfather, that we all have an obligation to try to perform some service to the country.


GRAMMER: And the only thing I can think of is to attempt maybe a political office at some point in my life.

HANNITY: You … so Kelsey Grammer, you want to run for...

GRAMMER: For Sean Hannity. No, I have not...

HANNITY: It's got to be a little meaner.

GRAMMER: I haven't laid out any plans yet. Possibly senator of whatever state I was living in.

HANNITY: California.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Have you said this before?

GRAMMER: No, I haven't said this before, but I used to say that I wanted to be president when I was a boy.

COLMES: Would you run as a Republican or a Democrat?

GRAMMER: I would probably run as a Republican.


GRAMMER: Because I am a Republican.

COLMES: A California Republican?

GRAMMER: I consider myself a centrist, I suppose, but I basically believe in trying to preserve as much opportunity for the individual, as long as that individual chooses to work as hard as he can.

COLMES: You know, we often hear how in Hollywood there are all these liberals running around.


COLMES: You're conservative.

All I ever talk to is conservatives...

GRAMMER: Thanks to Fox News, actually, I think it's a little more safe for us to come out of the closet.

COLMES: We made it safe for you to...

GRAMMER: Well, at least the spirit and … in this news media entity is one that embraces the idea that there can be opposing points of view. All headed toward hopefully what is a nice combination … the hope of compromise. Rather than fanning a language of hatred, which I see so often.

COLMES: But Hollywood then is not all just a bunch of liberals running around applauding each other, patting each other on the back.

GRAMMER: It's not to my knowledge, there's plenty of conservatives running around applauding each other and patting each other on the back as well.

COLMES: Are you … do you regret … are you going to have feelings about … remorse about the last … as we head toward the last...

GRAMMER: Sure, yes.

COLMES: Is there any chance that … if NBC came [to] you with a wheelbarrow, said here, whatever you want.

GRAMMER: If they came to me with no more money and just said we love the show so much we can't stand to part with it, I would probably say, well OK, let's do another little stint.

COLMES: You will?


COLMES: But they haven't done that?


COLMES: Maybe they will.

GRAMMER: Well, you never know.

HANNITY: What do you think about … guest appearance for Hannity and Colmes.

GRAMMER: I'd love to have you guys on our show. It would be great.

COLMES: So there's still a possibility then, that "Frasier"...

GRAMMER: Oh who knows, but really we've geared the show toward ending this year. We have an arc laid out, we're very happy with it, we think the shows are going to be wonderful, and we like to keep it that way.

COLMES: Do you know how it's going to end?

GRAMMER: Yes, I do.

COLMES: Would you...

GRAMMER: I can't tell you.

COLMES: Did you have input? Obviously you had input.

GRAMMER: I have a lot of input, it's OK. Pretty much yes or no.

COLMES: Could this character survive and exist someplace else? Could Frasier … I mean you had two...

GRAMMER: Well, certainly we would end the show imagining him going on somewhere.


GRAMMER: Whether it's still in Seattle or not, but I mean, I think the idea is to offer the audience the fantasy that this guy continues somewhere.

COLMES: We were talking about this, only James Arness has had a character that had a character that has existed for this long continuously.

GRAMMER: Yes, so I've tied him, but apparently he's not thrilled with it.

COLMES: Is that how he feels?

GRAMMER: That's what I have heard.

COLMES: Do you want to call him up and say 'I'm sorry, Mr. Arness.'

GRAMMER: Mr. Arness, I have nothing but respect for you, sir. He'll say oh get off the phone.

COLMES: What do you think it is about that character that has resonated and enabled the American public to embrace it for so many years?

GRAMMER: Well, there's a combination of great writing and skilled actors. But I think the character is a nice guy. He's flawed. He's an everyman. He still gets up in the morning after getting beaten down each day, and tries his best to do well again.



GRAMMER: Yes. You know, there's really no need for you to go to all this trouble. We can still have dinner at...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, dinner's coming along great. In fact, I've got a little sauce right here, if you want to taste it.

GRAMMER: Oh, well … that's yummy, yes.


COLMES: Do you watch the show?

GRAMMER: I do watch the show. That's my only guilty pleasure.

COLMES: Do you tape it, and then go over tapes?

GRAMMER: Well, because I'm an executive producer as well, I do have kind of final cut say, so I watch them quite a bit. My wife is ready to kill me. We watch the shows six, seven times.

COLMES: Do you … what do you want to do after this? I mean you talk about possibly running for office at some point, but do you want another acting...

GRAMMER: Well, truth be told, I would rather step into what would be my act three or four in some other role possibly, and explore the idea of directing some things, possibly some films.

COLMES: Do you have a need or desire to prove that you can be other people than Frasier? Is that something...

GRAMMER: No, no, I'm just an actor. Actors love to do other … they love to play pretend. That's what we do. Because in that world is where we actually get reality.

COLMES: Running for office is the same thing.

GRAMMER: Yes, it probably is. But that's … if I were to run for political office, I actually anticipate it being somewhere later in my life, where the accusations won't fly about, oh, well, he just can't like get out of the spotlight.

GRAMMER: Everything's been brought up. That's one of the things I'm actually free from. There's … there is nothing left in my closet.

COLMES: So then everybody knows everything.


COLMES: Would it be Senate, governor? Would it be, do you have a particular...

GRAMMER: Possibly senator. But the truth is, I would like to get to a place where I could do the most good for the greatest number of people. And the idea would be hopefully to just dictate whatever policy I would try to advance, based upon the premise of whether or not it's a good idea.

COLMES: Right.

GRAMMER: Really, I have no interest in the politics of hatred, or the rhetoric of hatred.

COLMES: What do you see with Arnold, and let's say that you eventually jump in, and we already had Ronald Reagan (search), there's going to be a trend now of people leaving show biz...

GRAMMER: No, I wouldn't run for office until I'm squarely seated in another arena.

COLMES: Totally out of show business.

GRAMMER: Yes, exactly. Because I don't think the two mix that well. However, I think Arnold may be on to something. Because he's a focused guy. His life as an action hero is not necessarily going to blossom at this point. He's reached a certain age, and now maybe he can actually take his...

COLMES: Are you friendly with him when you're working with him?

GRAMMER: I admire him, I respect him, and I would support him actually.

COLMES: And are you working with him? Are you talking with him?

GRAMMER: Well, I'm not working with him on an active level, but I'm willing to step up.

HANNITY: If necessary.


COLMES: And you will vote for him obviously.

GRAMMER: I will vote for him.

COLMES: And I just …you know, we could get into that debate I'm sure.

GRAMMER: But David Hyde Pierce (search) won't, so I mean...

COLMES: Because David is a liberal, is that why?

GRAMMER: Well he's more on that side of the spectrum.

COLMES: I see.

GRAMMER: Actually, we're both kind of … we both sit somewhere here around the middle, and his is just a little more left, and mine's a little more right.

HANNITY: Let me go to the question of Arnold. How do you think he's handled this so far?

GRAMMER: Well, actually I would say he's been pretty savvy about it actually.


GRAMMER: He hasn't got himself put into the position where he can be lambasted at this point. I think that's coming, you know where he can really get...

Well but you know what?

HANNITY: That goes with the ...

GRAMMER: That's so insignificant. Someone egging you, that's just juvenile and ridiculous.

HANNITY: You mentioned your life's pretty much an open book. You're sure you didn't do any interviews back in the '70s with Oui magazine or?

GRAMMER: No, because it's funny, I was a really good kid. I didn't really get into trouble until I was already sort of famous.

HANNITY: And now you're on the … you've been on the straight and narrow for a long time.

GRAMMER: Yes, seven years.

HANNITY: You ... now I want to go back to this idea of you running. I'm intrigued by it.


HANNITY: I really am. You are dead serious. I sense you are not kidding around here.

GRAMMER: Oh yes.

HANNITY: You would like to run for senator of California. Be the senator in California.

GRAMMER: Very possibly, yes.

HANNITY: Why would you wait? You're a young man, you have … I assume you've made a lot of money.

GRAMMER: Well, because it's just not time. There's more left for me to do as an actor I think. And I really don't think you can be both. Although Fred Thompson, of course, I think he's done a pretty good job of doing both.

HANNITY: He's transitioned it great.

GRAMMER: But for me, I think I'd have to give it my full attention.

HANNITY: Yes. Why the Senate? Why not governor? Why would you want to be the chief executive? Why one of 100?

GRAMMER: Well, I think there's a better shot of actually collaborating on good things there and setting national … I would just love to kind of … if I can effect any kind of change in that arena, it would be to try to bring people closer together.

HANNITY: I watch and listen to Arnold … I mean I listen to him closely. When he goes off on the American dream, he resonates.

GRAMMER: I think so, too. Well, because he lived it.

HANNITY: He's lived it.

GRAMMER: He actually lived it. I mean, he came here with the intention and focus, and an old buddy of mine always said you can't get anywhere without a plan. And he had one. And I admire him for that.

HANNITY: Who is it that you'd want to help? I mean what is it that you'd want to do if you want to run for...

GRAMMER: Well, I would like to try to rid the country of the idea that it's the rich against the poor.

HANNITY: It's not.

GRAMMER: It never has been. I would like to encourage people to do their best, set their goals, work as hard as they can. Everybody is entitled to pursue happiness in this country.

HANNITY: We're free here, if we want to.

GRAMMER: And to define your own sense of that happiness as long as it doesn't come with the cost of someone else's.

HANNITY: Isn't that Kelsey Grammer's story?

GRAMMER: It is very much, yes.

HANNITY: Yes. Did you ever think you'd have all this success when you started out?


HANNITY: You did? That wasn't the answer I was expecting.

GRAMMER: I had a feeling. But I didn't think I'd have all this money.

HANNITY: Has it changed you? Does money change you?

GRAMMER: No. I think if you have the good fortune to become wealthy doing what you love to do, what happens is you now have an obligation to give back in some way. I mean either through charitable giving, or volunteerism or trying to help. It's part of what is good about capitalism.

Because if you're fortunate enough to achieve any kind of success, then you have an obligation to share that opportunity with somebody else.

COLMES: We hope when you're in office you'll still come and do "Hannity & Colmes."

GRAMMER: I'd be delighted to. I'm counting on it.

COLMES: Thank you very much. Thanks for being here tonight. It was nice to meet you.

HANNITY: Good to see you.

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