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Firmly and comfortably ensconced in its Tuesday-night timeslot, Frasier launched its third season on NBC. The basic character lineup was carried over from the first two seasons: Seattle radio psychologist Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), his brother and fellow "shrink" Niles (David Hyde Pierce), their retired policeman father Martin (John Mahoney), Martin's down-to-earth cockney caregiver Daphne Moon (Jane Reeves) -- for whom the very married Niles silently carried a torch -- and Frasier's sharp-tongued radio producer and call-screener Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin). Though Dan Butler was still receiving "special guest appearance" billing for the role of gonzo sports-show emcee Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe, the actor was methodically moving out of the recurring-character class and ever closer to "regular" status. Then, of course, there was Niles' imperious, fabulously wealthy wife Maris -- still much talked about but still never seen. Additions to the recurring cast during season three included Oscar-winning actress Mercedes Ruehl, who made a cluster of unforgettable appearances as Kate Costas, the headstrong, ratings-obsessed new manager of Frasier's home radio station KACL. The combative relationship between Frasier and Kate rather unexpectedly morphed into a torrid romance, culminating with a poignant airport farewell. Also making her earliest series appearances was Irene Olga Lopez as Marta, Maris' maid and go-between. Finally, Luke Tarsitano became the first of several young actors to essay the role of Frasier's son, Frederick. In the tradition of Kelsey Grammer's former Cheers co-stars Bebe Neuwirth and Ted Danson, Shelley Long made a return appearance as Frasier's former fiancée Diane Chambers in the episode titled "The Show Where Diane Comes Back." The hints dropped in this episode that Frasier and Diane might rekindle their romance were eclipsed by the turbulent events in the life of Frasier's brother Niles. It was during season three that Niles' marriage to Maris began to disintegrate, and also during this season Niles finally "declared" himself to Daphne in the form of a kiss (though they would not be genuine lovers for several seasons to come; Daphne was not yet about to be tied down to anyone, and Niles was still skittish about jumping into another relationship).
In what was now becoming an annual ritual, Frasier garnered several Emmy Awards during its third season. This time, the statuettes were doled out for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing (multi-camera production). The final Frasier episode of the season, "You Can't Go Home Again," offered a "prequel" to the events leading up to the first episode of season one. As a bonus, the episode ended with a roll call of all the A-list celebrities who had been heard as "guest voices" during the past three seasons, playing the various neurotics who placed calls to Frasier's radio show. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, (more)