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Is it time for ''Frasier'' to bow out?

Is it time for ”Frasier” to bow out? Bebe Neuwirth weighs in on the ”Cheers” spin-off that won’t quit

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Frasier, Bebe Neuwirth, ...

Maybe NBC execs need to get a real therapist. Though the network refuses to speculate as to whether ”Frasier” will be returning after the 2003-04 season, Daily Variety reported that the show, which will be entering it’s 11th season this fall, will be signing off due to its hefty price tag (NBC pays $5.2 million per episode) and flagging ratings.

Fans may be in denial, but leave it to Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane to keep a clear head about the series’ end. ”With something that maintains such a high level of quality and is so respectful of its audience, as ‘Cheers’ was and ‘Frasier’ is, I think it’s better for all concerned for it to end before things get ugly,” says Bebe Neuwirth, who won an Emmy for playing Lilith on ”Cheers” and was later nominated for the same role on ”Frasier.” (She appears on the Tues., Feb. 4 episode.) ”No one wants to say, ‘Gee, I remember when we used to be funny on this show and people were laughing.”

Neuwirth denies any inside knowledge of when the bell will toll for the Crane brothers but says she’ll be happy to comfort herself with TV Land reruns when the time comes. ”I love watching Lilith,” she says. ”There are things I wish I’d done differently, and I’m not completely happy with my performances, but I have some distance from it now.” It seems time really is the best therapy.