It’s 25 years since the end of Cheers.
During a wave of comedy revivals and reboots, co-creators and executive producers Glen Charles and Les Charles and James Burrows, co-executive producer Rob Long and longtime writer Ken Levine, spoke to Variety about a possible return.
Long: I’ve pitched a reboot ‘til I’m blue in the face. I’d love to do it. I’m not even trying to be cool about it. The cool thing to do is to go, “Oh, well, you know, we had our time…” But I do a three-minute commentary on KCRW here in L.A., and I pitched my “Cheers” reboot idea on the radio, hoping that someone would hear it! I’d love to sit in a room with the funniest people I know, like I did 25 years ago, and with incredibly gifted performers onstage. I’d be happy to do that for the next 25 years!
Burrows: Since I’m involved with the “Will & Grace” reboot, I’ve seen it work. But that was 10 years, and this would be 25 years. I think that’s too long. You want to make sure when you do a reboot that you remember the characters as they were when they were successful.
Glen: “Will & Grace” and “Roseanne” — those people don’t seem to have aged significantly. Our people, I know, have. So it just wouldn’t be the same. And I’m not quite sure what that story would be. An aging bartender chasing women would be very strange. It wouldn’t feel right.
Burrows: There’s this whole thing about meeting your first girlfriend 30 or 40 years later. You might be inquisitive and interested, but you’ll always have in your head what she looked like when she was 18 years old, and you kind of want to preserve that. Some people don’t care. But we want to preserve what we have.
Long: The thing with that show was that it had all these classic elements. You don’t really need to know about the time or the politics or what the popular music was. You go to any bar, and there’s always a guy who’s good with the ladies, an uptight woman, a professor or a blowhard, a guy in a uniform who wants to brag, a drunk at the end of the bar who just wants to drink beer, a sassy, wisecracking server. …These are timeless archetypes. They’re always there. A show like “Cheers” should always be on the air in some form — you don’t need a hook, you don’t need a special setup, you just need really great performers and pretty good writing. For us, I think the difference between the smash hit of “Cheers” and a reasonably good show is that we had just these insanely talented, gifted performers in every single role. There wasn’t a weak part on that screen. You can’t plan for that. That’s just lightning in a bottle.