Kelsey Grammer's new gig on "Back To You"

I was ready to preface this quick take on Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton’s new sitcom Back To You with something long and winded about my love for Grammer’s old show Frasier. But after the series premiere last night of Back To You, I’ve lost my will to do it.

The premise — big-shot anchorman Chuck Darling (Grammer) is forced to return to his old Pittsburgh Station, WURG, when fired from his gig in LA — is fine enough. The writing is a bit blah, but there are some good jokes sprinkled throughout. The stars each handle their new roles reasonably well; though, I should say that the image of Grammer in suit and tie still has me seeing Frasier Crane no matter how hard I try not to (could be the four full hours of Frasier episodes I watched at my new favorite site this past weekend). The trouble is with the supporting cast members, none of whom possess the comic timing of David Hyde Piece or the remarkable versatility of John Mahoney, who as Frasier’s Dad, could do funny and serious equally well. The one bright spot is Fred Willard; as sports anchor Marsh McGinley, he steals just about every one of his scenes, even those he enters for mere moments. Like this one: when cub reporter Gary Crezyzewski (Ty Burrell) gets it in his head that he’ll be filling in for missing anchor Kelly Carr (Heaton), he phones his wife to tell her that she’ll be sleeping “with an anchorman tonight.” Willard, who knows that Carr has indeed showed up to the set just recently, overhears this boasting as he walks by and asks the over-eager Crezyzewski to let him know when he should tell his wife to expect Chuck over later that night. An inspired bit like that gives me hope for the show.

Perhaps, if I were to go back to the Frasier trailer, I might be similarly disappointed by what I had to see. So I’ll give it one more week...

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