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‘Frasier’ bids goodbye on NBC

Joel Brown New York Times Syndicate

Frasier just wanted to be your friend, too.

But for a number of years now, his NBC sitcom has had a weirdly low profile. A lot of people wrote it off, and the show seemed to be stuck in a rut. How many times could they do the mistaken-for-gay plot, anyway?

Well, tonight “Frasier” says goodbye, and it’s even on Thursday, filling the time slot “Friends” vacated last week.

At 8 NBC offers a one-hour retrospective special, featuring clips of the fussy “Cheers” shrink himself (Kelsey Grammer), his even fussier shrink brother, Niles (David Hyde Pierce), their grumpy dad (John Mahoney), their girl Daphne (Jane Leeves) and Frasier’s producer Roz (Peri Gilpin). Oh, and, of course, Eddie the dog.

Then at 8:54 — even a fussy time slot for “Frasier” — it’s the hourlong finale, featuring Martin’s planned marriage to Ronee (Wendie Malick) and a visit from Daphne’s brothers (guests Anthony LaPaglia, Robbie Coltrane and Richard E. Grant) as she and Niles expect their baby. Frasier says adios to Charlotte (Laura Linney), and there are also bits from guests Jason Biggs and Jennifer Beals.

So much for a nice send-off to the characters we’ve known all these years. They’ll barely get a word in edgewise with all those guests.

But fear not. There’s late word that Grammer and producer Paramount are mulling yet another “Frasier” series with a new locale and supporting cast.

Highlights

NBA playoffs, ABC at 5: Game 5 of the Los Angeles Lakers-San Antonio Spurs series.

“Survivor: All-Stars,” CBS at 8: CBS milks one last hour out of the All-Stars with this post-finale special. Oh, yeah, and they’re coughing up another million bucks to do it.

Viewer votes will determine tonight’s winner in this surprise consolation contest, announced at the end of Sunday’s finale.

Wouldn’t it be funny if they voted to give it to Boston Rob? But the smart money is on Rupert Boneham.

“Crazy/Beautiful” (2001), WB at 8: Kirsten Dunst is the troubled Nicole, a self-destructive rich girl with a secret, who falls for Carlos (Jay Hernandez), a talented, intelligent, straight-laced Latino boy determined to succeed. Good performances from both.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS at 9: Catherine’s father, a casino operator, is a suspect when two scammers turn up dead.

“Without a Trace,” CBS at 10: A decade-old adoption may turn out to have a sinister side.

“ER,” NBC at 10: Season finale. Dr. Kovac stops to help a stranded driver and her son until they are struck and gravely injured by a car. He has to use his whole bag of tricks to keep them alive.

Plus, Abby treats an ornery curmudgeon (Bill Macy) schoolteacher.

Cable Cast

NHL playoffs, ESPN at 4: Lightning vs. Flyers, followed by Sharks vs. Flames.

“Spartacus” (1960), AMC at 8: Stanley Kubrick directed this spectacle, which has many charms, including a good performance from Kirk Douglas, an odd one from Tony Curtis and an Oscar-winning supporting turn by Peter Ustinov.

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