Kelsey Grammer, the bad-boy star of NBC's hit series "Frasier," has checked into the Betty Ford Center for treatment of substance abuse. Production on the sitcom is temporarily on hold, a spokeswoman for the show said yesterday.
After a car crash Saturday, Grammer was arrested and booked for investigation of driving under the influence.
Three new "Frasier" episodes have been completed, and the series has begun a long-planned hiatus. However, NBC was forced to cancel a scheduled taping of an episode Tuesday because of Grammer's absence.
With the small stockpile and NBC's share of the major league baseball playoffs, which begin next month, there is no immediate panic at the network about the series' future.
A statement released by the "Frasier" show said: "Mr. Grammer has voluntarily admitted himself to the Betty Ford Center."
A spokeswoman for the show said there would be no elaboration on the type of treatment or the expected length of his stay at the desert facility in Rancho Mirage, Calif., 110 miles east of Los Angeles.
On Saturday Grammer, alone in the vehicle, flipped his red Dodge Viper sportscar near his Agoura Hills, Calif., home. He crawled out of the demolished car and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of a cut on his forehead. He was released a short time after the 7:45 p.m. crash.
The California Highway Patrol later arrested him for investigation of driving under the influence, said Sgt. David Rouse. He has not been charged, pending the results of a blood alcohol test.
In its season debut last week, "Frasier" did well enough to rank 12th. Two nights ago, in its second outing of the season, "Frasier" again finished second in its 9 p.m. time period, behind ABC's "Home Improvement" -- and with virtually no change in its numbers from the previous week.
Grammer stars as Seattle psychiatrist Frasier Crane in the show, which earlier this month won the Emmy for top comedy series.
"The producers and cast of Frasier,' as well as Kelsey's friends and colleagues at the studio and network, support his decision and wish him a speedy recovery," the "Frasier" statement said.
Grammer has been in trouble with the law before, with convictions for drunk driving and cocaine possession.
In 1995, authorities in Arizona decided not to prosecute him for statutory rape, and a New Jersey grand jury declined to indict him on the same charge. Both accusations were made by the same 17-year-old girl. In Other News
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For the eight nights, thrown for some strange reason against the premieres and season returns of the big networks' schedules, "The West" managed a 3.8/6 in the 33 markets and a 3.7/5 on Channel 26 . . .
After 17 years on PBS, the weekly film review show "Sneak Previews" has been canceled by WTTW in Chicago due to a lack of corporate underwriting . . .
"Sneak Previews" was originally hosted by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert and helped make the pair famous. In recent years the criticisms have come from Michael Medved and Jeffrey Lyons . . .
Channel 26 here last carried "Sneak Previews" in 1991-92. The arrival of the local "Around Town" series, complete with movie reviews, ended the run. "Around Town," incidentally, is due to return to WETA early next month for another season . . .
The celebration of the 1,000th broadcast of "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," which included an appearance by Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan, produced Jay's best overnight numbers on a Tuesday evening since April 30, when he was in Chicago and, we suspect, had Jordan on the show that night, too . . .
Candice Bergen told reporters earlier this week she was "tired" and for the first time is feeling that working on CBS's "Murphy Brown" has become "a daily grind" . . .
"I do think that unless there's some change in the show, I just can't do it anymore. I feel like I've hit a wall" . . .
She said a lot of the burden of carrying CBS's Monday night schedule is gone now that "Cosby" has arrived, acknowledging that "it's the first year that the pressure's been off . . .
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CBS Sports has extended its agreement with International Speedway Corp. and will broadcast the Daytona 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race through the year 2001 . . .
As part of the deal, CBS also picked up broadcast rights to the NASCAR Winston Cup's Pepsi 400 starting in 1998 and the Daytona 300 next spring . . .
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In premiere week, "Mad About You" beat Rosie in its new time slot -- the first time a season premiere of Rosie had not finished first in its time slot. Awesome! . . .
This Tuesday NBC won with a 13.2/21 average, with "Frasier" its top-rated series at 14.2/22. "Dateline" did a 13.6/23, which took the edge off the debut of "Relativity" on ABC in the same 10 p.m. time slot. The romantic drama averaged a 10.2/17 . . .
ABC was second at 12.4/20, led by "Home Improvement's" 16.5/25 at 9 . . .
"Spin City" averaged a 14.8/23, off some 2.1 million TV homes from its splashy premiere a week ago . . .
CBS was a distant third at 8.7/14 as "Promised Land" at 8.1/13 was off slightly from debut week, and a sad movie about a young man's suicide, "After Jimmy," averaged a 9.0/15 . . .
"Pretty Poison" on Fox averaged a 4.8/8 . . .
Locally, "Roseanne" on Seven destroyed "Mad About You," averaging a 16.2/27 to "Mad's" 9.6/16 on Four . . .
It was a big night for the big sitcoms on Seven: "Home Improvement" did a 15.9/23, "Spin City" a 15.7/23. But "Relativity" fell off to a 10.2/17 in the last hour . . .
At Four "Frasier" did a 16.8/25, "Dateline" an 8.7/15 . . .
The UPN lineup on Twenty found "Moesha" with a 6.0/10, "Homeboys in Outer Space" at 6.0/9 and "The Burning Zone" down to a 4.9/7 . . .
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Besides Washington, "Bey" has also lost Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston, Tampa and Miami, according to Nielsen. And it has been shunted to poor air times in both New York and Los Angeles . . .
The erosion is apparently due to racy content at a time advertisers and stations are trying to avoid the "trash talk" label . . .
First Week Weaknesses: ABC's "Lois & Clark: New Adventures of Superman," up against CBS's "Touched by an Angel" at 8 on Sunday, was off 32 percent from its premiere week a year ago . . .
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Two dramas, NBC's "Dark Skies" on Saturday (60th) and CBS's "Moloney" on Thursday (69th) had early flirtations with the Danger Zone in their premieres and were the worst-ranked among the 15 newcomers . . . CAPTION: KELSEY GRAMMER