Cheers (season 3)

The third season of Cheers, an American television sitcom, originally aired on NBC in the United States between September 27, 1984, and May 9, 1985. The show was created by director James Burrows and writers Glen and Les Charles under production team Charles Burrows Charles Productions in association with Paramount Television. The third season is available on DVD in a four-disc set.

Season 3
Cheers Season Three DVD.jpg
Region 1 DVD
StarringTed Danson
Shelley Long
Nicholas Colasanto
Rhea Perlman
John Ratzenberger
George Wendt
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes25
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 27, 1984 (1984-09-27) –
May 9, 1985 (1985-05-09)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 2
Next →
Season 4
List of episodes

The season marks major events that affected, or could have affected, the show. Kelsey Grammer made his debut as psychiatrist Frasier Crane, intended as part of a love triangle with Sam and Diane for the season. Actresses Rhea Perlman and Shelley Long were pregnant; Perlman's pregnancy was written into her character (Carla Tortelli), while Long's was hidden to avoid effects on her character (Diane Chambers). This was the final season for Nicholas Colasanto as Coach Ernie Pantusso; Colasanto died of a heart condition (dating back to the 1970s) which worsened during production, contributing to his absence from a number of episodes before his death in February 1985.


During the preceding two years NBC had struggled to put together a successful Thursday lineup, introducing "The Best Night of Television on Television." The initial lineup included the critically acclaimed comedy Cheers and crime series Hill Street Blues. Except for Hill Street Blues, the other series received low Nielsen ratings.[1][2] A number of shows, including critically panned sitcoms, were tried and replaced over the years.[2][3] NBC renewed Cheers for a second season;[1] the show's ratings improved during summer 1983,[4] and the second season received higher ratings.[5] Cheers won awards (including Emmys)[6] for both seasons.

The 1984–85 Thursday lineup consisted of—in time-slot order beginning at 8 pm Eastern (7 pm Central)—a new sitcom (The Cosby Show), three renewed sitcoms (Family Ties, Cheers and Night Court) and the renewed Hill Street Blues.[7] This lineup received high Nielsen ratings for the entire season, beating other Thursday shows from CBS and ABC.[8]

Cast and charactersEdit

After the "end" of the on-off relationship between Sam and Diane in the previous season, Sam begins drinking again and indulges in a series of affairs; Diane quits, signing herself into a mental hospital to forget Sam. She meets upper-class psychiatrist Frasier Crane, and begins dating him. Months later, Diane returns to her apartment and learns about Sam's relapse from Coach. With help from Diane, Frasier and Coach, Sam recovers. At first Diane decides not to work as a waitress again, but Coach tells her if she does not return to the bar Sam will relapse again. Coach also tells Sam that Diane will lose her mind again, and tells Frasier that if Diane and Sam are apart they would yearn for each other. As a result, Diane returns to work at the bar as a waitress. While she is dating Frasier, she and Sam flirt with each other.

Diane and Frasier decide to elope to Europe, leaving Sam heartbroken once more. One night at the bar Sam and Diane are close to making love again, but realize they are uncertain about their future together. Before Diane leaves, Sam tells her to call him if she wants to make love again. Weeks later Sam, regretting letting Diane go, takes a plane to Italy (with Cliff's help) to stop her from marrying Frasier.


No. in
Title [9]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date [9]Rating/share/rank
451"Rebound, Part 1"James BurrowsGlen Charles & Les CharlesSeptember 27, 1984 (1984-09-27)20.7 / 32 / #7[rat3 1]
After the breakup between Sam and Diane in the season-two finale, "I'll Be Seeing You", Sam has been drinking and womanizing for months. After Diane left, the bar went through eight other waitresses (with whom Sam slept, leaving Carla and Coach to run Cheers). When Diane returns home from a sanitarium (where she went to forget Sam), she learns about Sam's relapse from Coach and asks her psychiatrist friend Frasier Crane to help Sam recover. Sam thinks Diane still has feelings for him, not knowing that Diane and Frasier are romantically involved. Norm and Vera want to have a child. Cliff comes back from a two-week vacation in Florida, annoying everyone with his stories.
462"Rebound, Part 2"James BurrowsGlen Charles & Les CharlesOctober 4, 1984 (1984-10-04)19.5 / 29 / #13[rat3 2]
After ten days of sobriety and counseling with Frasier, Sam regains his stability and learns from Diane that she and Frasier are dating (smashing his hopes of being reunited with her). At first Diane refuses to be a waitress again (much to Sam and Frasier's relief), even when the position is available. However, Coach tells Diane that her refusal would cause Sam to relapse, he tells Sam it would make Diane go crazy again, and tells Frasier that it would make Sam and Diane yearn for each other. Diane reluctantly accepts Sam's offer, and they promise to resist each other.
473"I Call Your Name"James BurrowsPeter Casey and David LeeOctober 18, 1984 (1984-10-18)18.6 / 28 / #17[rat3 3]
After closing time, Frasier comes into the bar asks Sam's advice about a patient, whose girlfriend shouted out an old lover's name during sex. Sam correctly deduces Frasier is discussing himself and Diane. The next day, Sam broaches his theory to Diane in the office. Frasier walks in, and Diane angrily chides him for telling Sam the story. Frasier believes that Sam and Diane are still attracted to each other; they deny it, Diane insisting that Frasier is the man of her dreams. When Frasier leaves, Diane admits still having feelings for Sam, only to call out Frasier's name when they kiss, much to Sam's fury. Cliff secretly reports fellow mailman Lewis (Sam Scarber) on the theft of fragrance samples from magazines, which gets Lewis fired. Lewis deduces that Cliff was the snitch, but decides not to beat him up, as he's found another job.
484"Fairy Tales Can Come True"James BurrowsSam SimonOctober 25, 1984 (1984-10-25)19.8 / 30 / #14[rat3 4]

During a costume party at Cheers, Cliff (dressed as Ponce de León) meets his shy, female counterpart—Sharon O'Hare (Bernadette Birkett), dressed as Tinker Bell—and is attracted to her. The following day, at Norm's encouragement, Cliff reveals himself unmasked to the unmasked Sharon. Frasier departs to another city for a seminar, and cannot accompany Diane to the Boston Pops Orchestra concert of George Gershwin music. At Frasier's suggestion, Diane takes Sam to the concert for a "non-romantic[,] friendly" evening free of sexual tension.

Bernadette Birkett,[10] George Wendt's real-life wife, would later appear in an episode "Thanksgiving Orphans" uncredited as Norm's wife Vera in a body appearance sans the face covered with a pumpkin pie.[11]
495"Sam Turns the Other Cheek"James BurrowsDavid LloydNovember 1, 1984 (1984-11-01)17.8 / – / #18[rat3 5]
When Sam calms down Maxine's (Kim Lankford) jealous husband Marvin (Carmen Argenziano) and retrieves his gun, he accidentally shoots himself in the buttock while putting it into his back pocket. Rather than admit what really happened, Sam tells everyone an elaborate lie about his heroism in foiling a gang of robbers, although Diane does not believe him. At closing time, angry after seeing Sam's lies told on TV, Marvin returns with a gun and holds Sam and Diane hostage. Diane falsely claims herself and Sam as still a couple, so Marvin spares Sam's life for Diane's sake. Cliff gives a lowball offer for Norm's house and is shocked when Norm gladly accepts. Carla tells about her seduction of the dentist treating her toothache.
506"Coach in Love, Part 1"James BurrowsDavid AngellNovember 8, 1984 (1984-11-08)16.7 / 25 / #19[rat3 6]
Coach dates Irene Blanchard (Bette Ford). Days later, he proposes to her, and she accepts. When she hears of the $2-million lottery winnings from her daughter Sue (Ellen Regan), Irene immediately forgets the proposal. When Diane returns Sam's things to him that were left behind when they broke up, Diane discovers that her hand-puppet, Brian the Lion, was used as a bar rag and that her hand-spun lamb's-wool sweater was ruined when Sam put it in the washing machine.
517"Coach in Love, Part 2"James BurrowsDavid AngellNovember 15, 1984 (1984-11-15)19.2 / 29 / #15[rat3 7]
After Coach's girlfriend Irene wins the lottery, she becomes a socialite and breaks up with him. Coach learns from her daughter Sue that Irene is engaged to a foreign millionaire. Undaunted, Coach proceeds with the wedding plans, only to be stood up at the altar. When the phone rings, Coach picks it up and tells the caller (assuming to be Irene) that their relationship is over and she is better off with the rich man. When he leaves, the phone rings again and is unanswered.
528"Diane Meets Mom"James BurrowsDavid LloydNovember 22, 1984 (1984-11-22)14.4 / – / #38[rat3 8]

Frasier's mother, Hester (Nancy Marchand), threatens Diane with violence if she continues seeing him. Convinced that Hester may be joking, Diane makes some joking threats to Hester in return, which are met with horror. When Frasier drags both women into the office, Diane tells him about Hester's threats, and Hester explains that she made it in fear of losing Frasier. Although the dispute seems settled, unbeknownst to Diane and Frasier, Hester unsuccessfully tries bribing Sam into dating Diane again. On Norm's birthday, he is hit on the forehead by a wine cork when Coach opens the bottle. At the hospital, test results show the injury is not serious; however, Norm arranges a procedure to remove a mole (which increases the hospital charges to $683) and sticks Sam with the bill.

Hester Crane would later appear in flashback scenes within the spinoff, Frasier, portrayed by different actress, Rita Wilson.
539"An American Family"James BurrowsHeide PerlmanNovember 29, 1984 (1984-11-29)20.5 / 30 / #15[rat3 9]
Nick's (Dan Hedaya) new wife Loretta (Jean Kasem) is unable to conceive, so Nick demands custody of Anthony (one of Carla's children). Carla refuses, but Nick seduces her into agreeing. When Carla is ready to sign the custody papers, the gang tells her to resist Nick's charm; she changes her mind and keeps Anthony. Cliff, Norm, and Coach attempt to one up each other on frivolous bets about Sam's batting average.
5410"Diane's Allergy"James BurrowsDavid LloydDecember 6, 1984 (1984-12-06)20.0 / 17 / #20[rat3 10]
After moving in with Frasier, Diane develops an allergy and thinks his puppy Pavlov is the cause. Sam and Frasier think that moving into Frasier's place (not the puppy) caused the allergy, but Frasier gives the puppy to Sam (who renames it Diane). Although Frasier's place is sanitized and renovated, Diane is still allergic, and Frasier misses his puppy. Diane overhears her name, unaware that Frasier is referring to his dog, and concludes it as his love "confession". Carla is disappointed that all her birthday presents are gag gifts.
5511"Peterson Crusoe"James BurrowsDavid AngellDecember 13, 1984 (1984-12-13)18.8 / 29 / #21[rat3 11]
Norm is worried about his mortality because an X-ray showed a spot on his chest, and is relieved to hear that the X-ray was flawed. Because of the near-death experience, however, he announces that he is going to Bora Bora. A week later (with his trip a failure), Norm is found to have been hiding in the office the entire time. The gang tells Norm about their own failures to achieve their dreams, including Cliff's dream of becoming a trapeze artist. Carla and Diane compete for the most tips.
5612"A Ditch in Time"James BurrowsKen EstinDecember 20, 1984 (1984-12-20)17.4 / – / #20[rat3 12]

After his first date with Diane's friend Amanda (Carol Kane), Sam learns that Diane and Amanda met at the mental hospital and Amanda is obsessive, manipulative and self-destructive about men. When Sam attempts to end things with her, she threatens suicide. To rescue Sam, Diane informs Amanda that Sam was the boyfriend she complained about during her hospital therapy. Amanda storms off in disgust, leaving Sam to reconsider how he had treated Diane during their relationship. Norm and the gang list names for Norm and Vera's future child (omitting Cliff and Clifford, to Cliff's disappointment).

In some syndication prints, the brief reference to "Snow Job" is omitted.
5713"Whodunit?"James BurrowsTom ReederJanuary 3, 1985 (1985-01-03)18.4 / – / #21[rat3 13]
Frasier's mentor Bennett Ludlow (James Karen) is infatuated with the tough-talking, brash Carla. They begin dating, and she becomes pregnant. She breaks up with Bennett, rejecting his proposal, but he promises to financially support her and their child.
5814"The Heart Is a Lonely Snipehunter"
"The Heart Is a Lonely Snipe Hunter"[12]
James BurrowsHeide PerlmanJanuary 10, 1985 (1985-01-10)19.9 / – / #18[rat3 14]
When Frasier is bored with his work, Diane encourages the guys (including Sam) to invite him to their "guys only" weekend. Because he is dull they abandon him, leaving him snipe hunting alone. He returns, apparently happy to be part of the gang (which worries Diane). However, he tells her he knew the game was fabricated and plans to retaliate.
5915"King of the Hill"James BurrowsElliot ShoenmanJanuary 24, 1985 (1985-01-24)18.7 / 28 / #22[rat3 15]

Sam wins 7–0 against Playboy Playmates in a charity softball game to everyone's displeasure, especially the men who only wanted to see his opponents' bodies. Sensing the mood, Sam withdraws to the poolroom. Diane joins him, telling him he is overcompetitive in everything he does. Sam retaliates by accusing her of being as competitive as he is. They play ping pong until closing time, ending the game in a draw.

The episode "The Boys in the Bar" reaired on January 17, 1985.[13]
6016"Teacher's Pet"James BurrowsTom ReederJanuary 31, 1985 (1985-01-31)20.6 /29 / #13[rat3 16]
To earn his high-school diploma, Sam sleeps with his attractive instructor for higher grades in a geography class. Diane finds out when Coach (taking the same class and receiving honest grades) mentions that Sam is uncooperative and does not study. Confronted by Diane, Sam calls the teacher to end the affair and to grade his final exam honestly. Since he did not study, Coach tutors him, allowing Sam to earn his diploma with an honest "D" grade. Cliff wants his ears redone, but then decides to leave them as they are mostly because his insurance does not cover it.
6117"The Mail Goes to Jail"James BurrowsDavid LloydFebruary 7, 1985 (1985-02-07)18.2 / 26 / #22[rat3 17]
The day is cold and snowy; the bar's furnace is broken; the repairman is unable to come. Rather than stand around suffering from cold temperature, Diane goes inside the vent to troubleshoot and then gets stuck. Cliff has the flu, so Norm illegally substitutes for him and is arrested for tampering with the mail. To save his job, Cliff denies his connection to Norm to the police officer (Troy Evans). Pressured by the gang, Cliff eventually tells his superiors the truth. Due to his clean record he is only suspended for 30 days. Released from jail, infuriated Norm tries to attack him and is restrained by Sam. Cliff admits his mistake, prompting Norm to forgive him (after making Cliff imitate a seal, with his pants down).
6218"Bar Bet"James BurrowsJim ParkerFebruary 14, 1985 (1985-02-14)21.3 / – / #9[rat3 18]

Due to a drunken bar bet, Eddie Gordon (Michael Richards) will obtain the bar from his old drinking buddy Sam unless Sam can marry the actress Jacqueline Bisset by midnight the next day. Although the court would void the contract because he signed it while intoxicated, Sam wants to prevent public knowledge of his relapse. The gang discovers a West Virginia woman also named Jacqueline Bisset and asks her to be Sam's bride. When Jackie reluctantly accepts the offer, Eddie agrees to call off the bet.

Nicholas Colasanto does not appear in this episode. It is explained that Coach is in Vermont, getting his driver's license.
6319"Behind Every Great Man"James BurrowsKen Levine and David IsaacsFebruary 21, 1985 (1985-02-21)22.3 / – / #9[rat3 19]

Sam aggressively flirts with Paula Nelson (Alison LaPlaca), a magazine reporter studying the Boston singles scene. Paula is not impressed, so he takes lessons in French impressionism from Diane to appear cultured. Diane assumes he is trying to win her back, and when she hears Sam making hotel reservations, she assumes he wants the two of them to go away together. Diane shows up for Cheers packed for the weekend, only to realize that Sam is taking Paula.

Nicholas Colasanto does not appear in this episode. It is explained that he is at a family reunion for another family who invited him by mistake.
6420"If Ever I Would Leave You"James BurrowsKen Levine and David IsaacsFebruary 28, 1985 (1985-02-28)19.9 / – / #16[rat3 20]

When his wife Loretta throws him out for not supporting her singing, Carla's ex-husband Nick comes to Cheers and begs her to be part of his life again. She refuses, so Nick asks to work at the bar as a cleaner to prove he is a changed man. Three weeks later, Loretta begs Nick to return to her. At first he refuses, but he realizes his mistake and dumps Carla for Loretta.

Nicholas Colasanto does not appear in this episode. It is explained that Coach is at the airport, visiting his sister from Duluth, following which he'll visit her -- at the Duluth airport.
6521"The Executive's Executioner"
"Executive's Executioner Hines"[14]
James BurrowsHeide PerlmanMarch 7, 1985 (1985-03-07)22.9 / – / #5[rat3 21]

Norm is promoted to fire people due to his unique way of doing so. While firing several people, Norm is overcome with sorrow, prompting fired workers to cheer him up despite their own plight. Norm then becomes callous and hard, which hampers his attempt to fire an employee. Having had enough of terminating jobs, Norm tries to resign, but people are too afraid to talk to him, including his own boss. Cliff is tired of his noisy, partying neighbors and tries to send an insulting letter (written by Carla on his behalf). When his rival Walt Twitchell (Raye Birk) tries to mail the letter, Cliff changes his mind and wants it back. Walt refuses, so Cliff attacks him and rips the letter to shreds.

Nicholas Colasanto does not appear in this episode.
6622"Cheerio, Cheers"James BurrowsSam SimonApril 11, 1985 (1985-04-11)20.6 / – / #8[rat3 22]

Frasier is hired by the University of Bologna in Italy, and offers Diane a six-month trip to Europe. She accepts, and Sam gives her a going-away party. After the party, Sam and Diane embrace and kiss passionately, but their embrace is brief because of their uncertainty about their future together and her refusal to cheat on Frasier. Sam tells Diane that a commitment to Frasier provides "security", while passion with Sam is "a day at a time". Before she leaves, Sam tells her to call him if she wants to try again. The following day, Diane calls Sam from London to thank him for the night and promises to send him postcards from Europe.

This episode (filmed in late November 1984) is Nicholas Colasanto's last appearance in a full episode.[15] He would appear for the last time in the cold opening of the season finale "Rescue Me".[16]
6723"The Bartender's Tale"James BurrowsSam SimonApril 18, 1985 (1985-04-18)20.1 / – / #6[rat3 23]

After Carla refuses to hire attractive-but-inexperienced waitresses, Sam reluctantly hires well-liked, experienced and older Lillian Huxley (Lila Kaye). Sam is attracted to Lillian's daughter Carolyn (Camilla More). In order to prevent Carla from quitting, Sam tries to obtain Lillian's permission to date Carolyn. Lillian thinks Sam is coming on to her, but he convinces her not to go beyond their working relationship. Sam is intrigued when Lillian tells him of her prowess at lovemaking, and then discovers Carolyn detests sex as her father died of a coronary while in bed with her mother.

Nicholas Colasanto does not appear in this episode.
6824"The Belles of St. Clete's"James BurrowsKen EstinMay 2, 1985 (1985-05-02)19.7 / – / #4[rat3 24]

Carla is reunited with her former, sadistic principal (Camila Ashland) from St. Clete's School for Wayward Girls. Carla is determined to exact revenge on her by shaving her head, but ends up getting drunk with her (after shaving half her head). Cliff tells his barmates that a letter from Florida is from his secret admirer. Norm finds the letter, and he and Sam learn it is an angry message from a motel manager, demanding that Cliff return stolen items from his room. To save Cliff from humiliation, Norm and Sam pretend it is a love letter. Frasier and Diane rent a hotel room in the Alps, where Frasier skis and Diane calls Sam several times.

Nicholas Colasanto does not appear in this episode.
6925"Rescue Me"James BurrowsKen EstinMay 9, 1985 (1985-05-09)17.9 / – / #13[rat3 25]

Frasier proposes to Diane in Italy. She calls Sam in the hope that he will dissuade her from accepting, but he congratulates her. When he daydreams about stopping Diane and Frasier's wedding, Sam realizes how he really feels and Cliff helps him reserve a flight to Italy. When Frasier and Diane have car trouble in a small town, Diane secretly calls Sam, hoping he'll be on a plane to Italy. She hears Sam's voice, unaware that it is an answering machine, and Diane and Frasier decide to have a local wedding.

Nicholas Colasanto appears in this episode's cold opening as Coach, using discarded footage from a previous episode.[16] His last completed episode was "Cheerio Cheers" (filmed in late November 1984).[15]


Kelsey Grammer debuted this season as upper-class psychiatrist Frasier Crane, beau of Diane Chambers and rival of bartender Sam Malone.

After Sam and Diane's breakup the previous season, psychiatrist Frasier Crane was introduced this season by series creators Glen and Les Charles as Diane's upper-class "romantic and intellectual ideal". Frasier was the opposite of his lower-class rival, Sam Malone; as part of a love triangle he gave "a different form to the Sam-Diane relationship", said Glen Charles.[17][18] It was originally planned for Frasier to appear only in the first few episodes before being dumped by Diane, when he would disappear.[19] John Lithgow was originally chosen by Cheers' producers for the role, but he turned it down.[20][21][22] Kelsey Grammer (who believed he had flunked his audition) was chosen for his performance with Danson,[23] which elicited praise from show executives and led to an extended role in the series for his character.[18][19] Before Cheers, Grammer appeared in the soap opera Another World and two miniseries: Kennedy and George Washington.[17]

Actress Rhea Perlman (and her character, Carla Tortelli) became pregnant again this season.

In late August 1984, the pregnancies of actresses Rhea Perlman and Shelley Long were announced after at least four episodes of the season were completed.[17][24] Perlman's second pregnancy was incorporated into the show by having her character, Carla Tortelli, become pregnant again (with another man, not her ex-husband Nick as in the series' first season). Long's character's (Diane Chambers') unmarried pregnancy was considered, with the father of her child either Sam or Frasier.[24] However, the producers felt that incorporating Long's pregnancy into the show would adversely impact her character and the romantic storyline.[19][25][26] Therefore, Long's pregnancy was concealed by either putting her behind the bar or filming her above the waist;[25] scenes with Diane and Frasier in Europe were filmed before Long's pregnancy became noticeable.[19][26] In March 1985, both actresses gave birth to baby girls.[25]

Nicholas Colasanto, who played Coach Ernie Pantusso, had heart disease since the mid-1970s exacerbated by alcoholism.[27] After years of sobriety,[27] during production his heart disease worsened. Castmates noticed his weight loss, although the actor kept the severity of his illness a secret.[28] Shortly after Christmas 1984, Colasanto was admitted to a local hospital with water in his lungs.[28] Co-star Ted Danson later said that the veteran actor had difficulty remembering his lines during production that season.[28] After he was released from the hospital, Colasanto's doctor recommended that he not return to work. Although he appeared in the cold opening of the third-season finale ("Rescue Me"),[16] his last full episode was "Cheerio Cheers" (filmed in late November 1984).[15] Colasanto died of a heart attack at his home on February 12, 1985, at age 61.[29][30] Instead of recasting him,[31] Colasanto's character Coach was written out of the show the following season as deceased without explanation.[32]


Cheers was scheduled on Thursdays at 9 pm Eastern (8 pm Central) against CBS's crime series Simon & Simon and ABC programming, which included the short-lived series Glitter, made-for-television and hit theatrical films[33] such as Grease.[34] As reported on April 25, 1985, Cheers was No. 12 (with an average 19.7 Nielsen rating) for the season, tied with ABC's Hotel.[35]


...The best thing to happen in [this season], of course, is the addition of one Dr. Frasier Crane, MD, to the cast. Soon everybody knew his name, and nobody would be able to forget it for twenty-odd years (Frasier [recently went] off the airwaves at NBC). But back in 1984, Frasier was cocky, bright-eyed, incredibly youthful, and had a lot more hair on his gigantic forehead. His awkward integration into the tight-knit group of friends was the subject of many an episode this season, as he stuck out like a gigantic tool. By the end of the season, though, he ceased to be the nerdy kid nobody liked, and fit in with the gang like a glove.[36]

Adam Arseneau, DVD Verdict, July 12, 2004

Despite praise for Kelsey Grammer from show executives, at the time of Cheers' original run Frasier Crane was disliked for coming between Sam and Diane. A fan approached Grammer, asking "Are you that pin dick that plays Frasier?" and the show received fan mail opposing him.[23] Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette was unhappy with "a shrink [as becoming another regular] hanging out in a bar, annoying decent drinking folk".[7] Gail Shister of Knight-Ridder Newspapers called Frasier a "creepy boyfriend".[37]

In a 1985 survey of 36 critics for United States newspapers, Cheers was ranked the second "Best Regular Series" (tying with the NBC crime series Hill Street Blues).[38] Mike Duffy of Knight News Service called it the "best comedy series on television...about [a] family of circumstance" since The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi, and the characters "a family whose common bond is hanging out at a bar where everybody knows your name".[39]

Later reviews were also positive, especially when its DVD was released in 2004. Nate Meyers of digitallyObsessed!com gave the season an "A" and called it well-aged and "nearly flawless". However, Meyers found Coach's disappearances in the final eight "somewhat awkward" episodes poorly handled. He pointed out that Coach was not mentioned in those episodes, and found the explanations of his disappearances not "natural". Nevertheless, Meyers praised the season's writing, James Burrows's directing (especially for "[fooling] the audience into believing a dream sequence" in season finale "Rescue Me"), the season's humor as "character and situation driven" (although "[a] few jokes are dated") and its ability to focus less on humor and more on "genuine character moments" as "refreshing" compared to other situation comedies of the time.[40]

Adam Arseneau of DVD Verdict gave the storylines (including those featuring Norm and Cliff) 89 percent and the acting 94 percent. However, Arseneau found this season neither the best nor the worst of the series. Although Frasier was created to come between Sam and Diane, Arseneau praised the addition of the new character but criticized the love-triangle storyline as "disappointing". Like Meyers, Arseneau disliked the handling of Coach's "absence" for dishonoring the memory of Nicholas Colasanto and "[robbing] fans [of] their opportunity to properly and respectfully mourn his passing."[36]

Jeffrey Robinson of DVD Talk rated this season four out of five stars and found its DVD release highly rewatchable. Robinson said that the plots were uncomplicated, praised the acting and writing of this season as "superb" and liked the introduction of Frasier Crane. Because of Colasanto's death, he called this season the final one for the original "wonderful" ensemble cast, finding the mixing of different characters in later seasons less accomplished.[41]

Cliff Wheatley of IGN called one of the episodes "The Heart Is a Lonely Snipe Hunter" the tenth best Cheers episode, despite not being "the funniest episode by a long shot" but "a little mean spirited."[42]


The series won three honors in April 1985 from Viewers for Quality Television, which began that year. Shelley Long was the Best Lead Actress (Comedy), Rhea Perlman the Best Supporting Actress (Comedy) and Nicholas Colasanto posthumously received the Best Supporting Actor (Comedy) award.[38] Of twelve Emmy nominations, in 1985 Perlman won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and "The Executive's Executioner" earned its sound crew the "Outstanding Live and Tape Sound Mixing and Sound Effects for a Series" award.[43] Of nominees for 1984, Shelley Long won a Golden Globe in 1985 as Best Actress in a Musical-Comedy Series.[44]

DVD releaseEdit

This season was released on DVD in Region 1 on May 25, 2004.[40] Nate Meyers of Digitally Obsessed graded the video transfer a B+ (despite "print defects" in some episodes) and found the audio "proper", noting that the special features were (like other season DVDs) compilation clips of episodes, including a tribute to Nicholas Colasanto.[40]

Cheers: The Complete Third Season
Set Details[40][45] Special Features[40]
  • Virtual Vera
  • Carla's Whipping Boy
  • Shrink-Warped: Introducing Frasier Crane
  • Cheers Bar Tour
  • Nicholas Colasanto: His Final Season
Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
May 25, 2004 6 September 2004 10 September 2004


  • Bjorklund, Dennis A. Cheers TV Show: A Comprehensive Reference (e-Book ed.). Praetorian Publishing. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  • Snauffer, Douglas (2008). The Show Must Go On: How the Deaths of Lead Actors Have Affected Television Series. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3295-0.


  1. ^ a b "Cheers for a second season". Beaver County Times. Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The Associated Press. March 13, 1983. p. D7. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Jory, Tom (May 11, 1983). "Taxi, Fame Get the Ax as NBC Announces Fall Lineup". Lexington Herald-Leader. Kentucky. p. D5. Record no: 8301230394. (registration required)
  3. ^ "Buffalo Bill Returns Dec. 15". The Miami Herald. December 2, 1983. Record no: 8304060082. NewsBank:, (registration required)
  4. ^ Scott, Vernin (September 22, 1983). "Cheers Boosted by Reruns". Reading Eagle. United Press International. p. 37. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  5. ^ David Bianculli (May 14, 1984). "The Shows Readers Love and Hate Most". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. D01. Record no: 8401260419. NewsBank: (registration required).
  6. ^ Bjorklund, pp. 457-458.
  7. ^ a b Mike Boone (September 26, 1984). "It's humor vs. The Hulk as Cosby, Selleck clash". The Gazette. Montreal. p. E-16. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  8. ^ Ed Bark (April 28, 1985). "NBC's Season Is the Cos for Celebration - Bill Cosby's show rescues the network from the bottom of the TV ratings pile". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1C. NewsBank: (registration required)
  9. ^ a b Bjorklund, pp. 311–326
  10. ^ Bjorklund, p. 314
  11. ^ Nemetz, Dave (November 24, 2015). "Food Fight! The Messy True Story Behind the Classic Cheers Episode, 'Thanksgiving Orphans'". Yahoo!. Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  12. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily Todd (April 10, 2013). "10 episodes that show how Cheers stayed great for 11 seasons". AVClub. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  13. ^ "Tonight on TV". The Vindicator. p. 30.
  14. ^ Cheers: The Complete Third Season (DVD). 2004.
  15. ^ a b c Gendel, Morgan (April 6, 1985). "Loss of key cast members a fact of TV life". The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved October 8, 2015 – via Google News Archive. Morgan Gendel worked for the Los Angeles Times at the time of publication.
  16. ^ a b c Snauffer, p. 56.
  17. ^ a b c "'Cheers' Sam Gets a Rival." Ocala Star-Banner: TV Week [Ocala, FL] 18 August 1984: 19. Google News. Web. 31 March 2012.
  18. ^ a b Gates, Anita. TELEVISION; Yes, America Has a Class System. See Frasier." The New York Times April 19, 1998. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  19. ^ a b c d Levine, Ken (June 6, 2008). "One more question..." Ken Levine. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  20. ^ "`Frasier' Says `Goodnight, Seattle' for Good." St. Paul Pioneer Press [St. Paul, MN] 13 May 2004: E1. Web. 6 April 2012.(subscription required)
  21. ^ Neal, Rome. "'Frasier' Meets 'Becker'." CBS News 11 February 2009. Web. 6 April 2012.
  22. ^ Filichia, Peter. "John Lithgow to appear at McCarter Theatre." 5 April 2010. Web. 6 April 2012.
  23. ^ a b Raftery, Brian (October 2012). "The Best TV Show That's Ever Been". GQ. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  24. ^ a b Beck, Marilyn (31 August 1984). "Cheers plots will feature unwed mothers". The StarPhoenix. p. A16.
  25. ^ a b c "Cheers! They're baby girls". The Gainesville Sun. 29 March 1985. p. 2A.
  26. ^ a b Shister, Gail (January 16, 1985). "Shelley Long's pregnancy will keep her off Cheers". Beaver County Times. p. C9.
  27. ^ a b Snauffer, p. 52
  28. ^ a b c Snauffer, p. 55.
  29. ^ Jones, Jack (February 13, 1985). "N. Colasanto; Played Coach Role in Cheers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  30. ^ Keets, Heather (February 11, 1994). "Coach's Last Call". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  31. ^ Dawidziak, Mark (February 14, 1985). "Cheers Won't Try Recasting Coach". Akron Beacon Journal. Ohio. p. 1, section D (Life Style). Record no. 8501050953.
  32. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (October 20, 1992). "Hit Series' Producers Must Scramble to Fill A Dead Actor's Role". The New York Times.
  33. ^ "TV Shows Shuffled". The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario (Canada). October 9, 1984. p. A17. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  34. ^ Bianculli, David (October 5, 1984). "3 Shows Pay for ABC's Bad Beginning". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. C11. Glitter was pulled out of Thursday night lineup in September 1984 after three episodes and then, according to Calgary Herald article, "Network Cancels Glitter", broadcast in November and December 1984 on Tuesdays.
  35. ^ Rothenberg, Fred (April 25, 1985). "CBS Outpoints Scrappy NBC to Top Season Ratings Race". The Orlando Sentinel (3 Star ed.). The Associated Press. p. E7. Record no. 0290250041.
  36. ^ a b Arseneau, Adam (July 12, 2004). "Cheers: The Complete Third Season". DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on December 16, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  37. ^ Shister, Gail (February 28, 1985). "Cheers last show kept tight secret". Beaver County Times. Knight Ridder. p. B9.
  38. ^ a b "The Ratings Game - CBS Eked Out a Win, but NBC Takes the Top Honors in the Quality Poll". The Seattle Times (4th ed.). The Associated Press; Knight Ridder. April 22, 1985. p. B1. Record no. 20902. The Cosby Show topped as the "Best Regular Series" in the survey of 36 critics.
  39. ^ "Thursday: 'the best night of TV on TV'". The News and Courier / The Evening Post. Charleston, South Carolina. September 28, 1985. p. 5-D. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  40. ^ a b c d e Meyers, Nate (May 26, 2004). "Cheers: The Complete Third Season (1984-85)". digitallyObsessed!com. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  41. ^ Robinson, Jeffrey (May 25, 2004). "Cheers: Complete Third Season". DVD Talk. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  42. ^ Wheatley, Cliff (2014-05-30). "Top 10 Cheers Episodes". IGN.
  43. ^ Bjorklund, pp. 458-459. Sound crew were Douglas Grey (pre-production), Michael Ballin (production), Thomas Huth (post-production), and Sam Black (sound effects).
  44. ^ "Golden Globe awards list". Southeast Missourian. Cape Girardeau, Missouri. January 28, 1985. p. 2. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  45. ^ "Cheers - Season 3". Archived from the original on September 16, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2013.

Ratings notesEdit

According to the Los Angeles Times, Nielsen ratings of 1984–85 were based on 84.9 million households.

  1. ^ "'Oldies' Give CBS a 'Premiere' Lead". The Miami Herald. October 5, 1984. p. 13F. 64 programs.
  2. ^ "The Nielsens". The Miami Herald. October 12, 1984. p. 13F. 60 programs.
  3. ^ "Comics/TV". The Miami Herald. October 27, 1984. p. 4D. 65 programs are listed. According to Lexington Herald-Leader article, "Dynasty Tops TV Ratings, but ABC Still in Last Place" (October 25, 1984), the household amount was 15.7 million.
  4. ^ "Comics/TV". The Miami Herald. November 2, 1984. p. 6B. 70 programs.
  5. ^ "Dallas Clan Knocks Dynasty Out of No. 1". Lexington Herald-Leader. Kentucky. The Associated Press. November 8, 1984. p. D7. "Sam Turns the Other Cheek" ties with NBC crime drama Hill Street Blues. Household amount was estimated to be 15.1 million.
  6. ^ "Comics/TV". The Miami Herald. November 16, 1984. p. 10C. 75 programs, including separate 23-minute blocks of 1984 U.S. Election Day coverage. Counting separate network coverages as one, including coverages of Democratic Campaign, amount of total programs would be converted into 59.
  7. ^ "The Nielsens". The Miami Herald. November 23, 1984. p. 17E. 68 programs.
  8. ^ "Television Ratings". Los Angeles Times. November 28, 1984. p. 14, Part VI (Calendar). Over 60 programs. Another sitcom Who's the Boss? scored the same rating, although it is listed as No. 39.
  9. ^ "Comics/TV". The Miami Herald. December 6, 1984. p. 9D. 69 programs.
  10. ^ "Amusements". The Miami Herald. December 13, 1984. p. 4B. 54 programs.
  11. ^ "The Nielsens". The Miami Herald. December 21, 1984. p. 24D. 70 programs.
  12. ^ "Television Ratings". Los Angeles Times. December 28, 1984. p. 28, Part VI (Calendar). 65 programs.
  13. ^ "Television Ratings". Los Angeles Times. January 9, 1985. p. 9, Part VI (Calendar). 63 programs.
  14. ^ "Television Ratings". Los Angeles Times. January 16, 1985. p. 10, Part VI (Calendar). 66 programs.
  15. ^ "Comics/TV". The Miami Herald. January 31, 1985. p. 5B. Only 55 shows are listed; there may be more in other articles.
  16. ^ "Cosby Show beats soaps". Daily Breeze. Torrance, California. February 6, 1985. p. C7. Out of 64 programs, only top 20 shows and bottom five are shown. Record no. 0000037631.
  17. ^ "Comics/TV". The Miami Herald. February 14, 1985. p. 6B. Only 45 shows are listed; there may be more in other articles.
  18. ^ "60 Minutes No. 1". San Francisco Chronicle. February 21, 1985. p. 59. Top ten programs are only listed. In the San Francisco area, the episode landed on No. 8 with an 18.5 rating.
  19. ^ "Television Ratings". Los Angeles Times. February 27, 1985. p. 9, Part VI. 67 programs listed in nationwide list. In the Los Angeles area, it landed on No. 8 out of top 10 with a 19 rating.
  20. ^ "Television Ratings". Los Angeles Times. March 6, 1985. p. 9, Pt. VI. 65 programs nationwide. In the Los Angeles area, it landed on No. 6 out of 10 with an 18 rating.
  21. ^ "60 Minute Leads". San Francisco Chronicle. March 13, 1985. p. 53. Top ten programs are only listed. In San Francisco area, it landed on No. 3 with a 21.9 rating.
  22. ^ "TV Ratings - Cosby Show No. 1". San Francisco Chronicle. April 17, 1985. p. 59. Top ten programs are only listed. In the San Francisco area, it landed on No. 3 with 25.3 rating.
  23. ^ "Television Ratings". Los Angeles Times. April 24, 1985. p. 9, Part VI. 66 programs. In the Los Angeles area, "The Bartender's Tale" landed on No. 3 with 18 rating.
  24. ^ "Cosby Show No. 1". San Francisco Chronicle. May 8, 1995. p. 59. Top ten programs are only listed. In the San Francisco area, "The Belles of St. Clete's" landed on No. 6 with an 18.0 rating.
  25. ^ Rothenberg, Fred (May 16, 1985). "First Blood Helps NBC Win Nielsen's Ratings War". The Orlando Sentinel. The Associated Press. p. E7. Top 20 programs are only listed. 17.9 rating may equate to 15.2 million households.

External linksEdit