NEW YORK -- Kelsey Grammer likes his Bloody Marys made with sake, his french fries slathered in Grey Poupon and his hamburger dipped in great green globs of guacamole. It's pretty disgusting watching him eat. But Kelsey Grammer is one of those all-or-nothing guys, and right now he is happily, merrily and even ecstatically running on "all."

After spending nine years as merely one of the ensemble on the gigantic hit "Cheers" (he joined it in its third season), Grammer has now graduated to his own hit, "Frasier," on which the ensemble is smaller and he, as persnickety psychiatrist Frasier Crane, is the center of the show. In addition, Grammer appears to have triumphed over a variety of personal problems and traumas that would have left a lesser man crumpled if not crushed.

"I love my work. I love what we do," Grammer says, gobbling up a french fry at a grubby corner table in the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center. Doing work he likes is the best thing about success, he says. "And also to be in sync with my gifts, or to have my gifts and the execution of those gifts at the same level is fabulous, incredible. It's fantastic."

Obviously there are similarities between Kelsey Grammer and Frasier Crane. Both have a tendency toward pretentiousness ("my gifts," yet), but also a childlike vulnerability beneath the pomp. "There's a part of me that I lend to Frasier. I certainly have a broader base than Frasier does, but I was aware of that part of me a long time ago. Now he's like an alter ego that I get to play with. He gets to come out.

"Frasier is lovable because he's quite comfortable with being flawed. He realizes that although he's got all these pretensions, he's sincerely trying to do the best he can from day to day. He's lovable because he's so human. Things never go the way he really wants them to, but he's got a good heart, he gets on with his life. He's the classic of what I hope to do in life: He staggers onward rejoicing somehow."

Grammer, who is 39 but looks 49 and acts 29 (or maybe 19), has come to New York to appear on Phil Donahue's talk show with much of the golden cast of "Frasier," including David Hyde Pierce, who plays prissy brother Niles, Jane Leeves, who plays daffy nurse Daphne, and Peri Gilpin, who plays sassy producer Roz. John Mahoney, who masterfully plays the Crane boys' crusty father, wasn't able to make the trip.

But Moose was.

Moose is a dog, a feisty Jack Russell terrier typecast on "Frasier" as a dog named Eddie, one who likes to sit and stare contemplatively at Frasier and drive him crazy. Poor old sputtering Frasier is put upon, set upon and preyed upon, and even though he seems sometimes to deserve the low blows life deals him, it is a reassuring pleasure to watch him recover in time to greet the next one. Moose as Eddie somehow symbolizes the dark cloud that follows Frasier through life.

On "Donahue," the white-maned host made a fool of himself over Moose, cuddling and posing with the poochie-woochie while irritating the people from Paramount by repeatedly pronouncing the name of the series "frayzer" instead of "frayzhur." Sauntering into the green room after the show, Moose seems rather unfriendly and businesslike, but everybody gravitates to him anyway, which pleases Kelsey Grammer about as much as it would please Frasier Crane.

Could there be perhaps some animosity toward Moose? "Sure there is!" Grammer snaps. "Of course! Well, it's just so silly. He gets so much attention. I do draw the line when somebody says, 'Oh, he's such a good little actor.' " Grammer slams his hand on the table, jiggling the guacamole. "That's it! He's not an actor, he's a dog!"

Does Moose get fan mail? "I think he does. I know it's very popular for them to say he gets more than I do. I don't know."

There's a hint of the Frasier sulk, the peevish petulance, but also a self-mocking grin. "I love dogs. I don't have any particular feeling about that dog because I just work with him. It takes twice as long to finish a show when the dog's in it. It's a dog. It's not a hardship, you know, it just takes longer. He doesn't always get it the first time and we have to stop and go back."

Grammer doesn't think Moose likes him, either. "No, I don't think he has an opinion. Moose pretty much lives for his tricks and his little hot dogs. It's sort of depressing, I know. Once in a while, I'll go up and pet him. He looks around for what he's going to get. If you pet him, he goes, you know, 'Where's that hot dog?' "

Asked whether it's true that Grammer has stayed in his trailer and pouted during the filming of an episode or two, Grammer replies quickly, "Never. But Moose has. The little {expletive}!" But Grammer is practical enough to know Moose's value to the show. "Hey, it takes care of kids a lot. If the dog grabs them, brings them in a little bit, they end up thinking anyway, listening to the show. And then, hey, it's the best of both worlds."

Out of the Catbird Seat Ratings were not a problem for "Frasier" in its first season on NBC. It got the catbird seat following "Seinfeld" on Thursday nights and some weeks not only held the big "Seinfeld" audience but improved on it. Then some knucklehead at NBC had a brainstorm: For the new fall season, let's move "Frasier" to Tuesdays and try to build a night of hit comedies around it. At first it looked as if "Frasier" would have to face the long-running dynamo "Roseanne" in the time slot. Then ABC made things worse by switching "Roseanne" with "Home Improvement," the No. 1 entertainment show on network TV.

Suddenly "Frasier," a Top 10 show with a good chance to be a Top Five show, was looking as though it would be lucky to remain a Top 20 show.

But Grammer insists he did not blow his top when the decision was made. "I wasn't furious, no. It made sense to me. They want to make more money and that means they need to control another night on television. I found out about it while I was shooting this made-for-television movie, 'The Innocent.' The week that aired, the show was 16th and the film was 17th in the ratings, so that's pretty good. People were probably getting sick of me: 'If I see that guy's face again, I'm going to kill myself.'

"Believe me, the only thing I mind is not being number one" in the time period, Grammer says. "But we'll do everything we can to do that again." Indeed, lately, "Frasier" has crept back into the Top 10. It came in eighth for the week in the most recent ratings; "Home Improvement" came in first. That means both shows are big hits.

Thus Grammer cannot be coaxed into saying nasty things about network executives. "Well, it's not gonna happen. I don't have nasty feelings. I don't have 'em! A lot of it just comes down to personal revenue. Syndication deals are made based upon ratings. The show is going to make syndication anyway. They said at Paramount when the boys moved the show, 'Well, we just lost 50 million dollars!' Oh boy. Now we're only going to make 140 million instead of 190. I realize it's important to them, but I had a hard time feeling bad about it."

Grammer probably makes $200,000 or more per episode and confirms that he, too, has a chunk of that syndication action: "I have a piece and I'm conspiring to get a bigger piece as time goes on." What counts, he says, is that he's happy with the show, that it has succeeded on its own and not just as an extension of "Cheers."

Over the years, NBC hoped to get three spinoffs out of "Cheers." It was long assumed one would costar George Wendt and John Ratzenberger as bar buddies Norm and Cliff. That never materialized. Grammer says he balked at thoughts of spinning off not just Frasier but Frasier and Lilith, the combative sweethearts. "I didn't want to do a show about a bickering couple. I didn't think it had any value." But Bebe Neuwirth, who played Lilith, has returned for one "Frasier" appearance and will be back later in the season for a two-parter about Frasier and Lilith bumping into one another in Bora Bora.

Grammer says he enjoyed seeing Neuwirth as the devilish temptress Lola in the Broadway revival of "Damn Yankees," with some reservations. "She's terrific. None of those boys ever played baseball, though. Not a batter in the bunch. The only other problem: Bebe's a little too thin for the role. Still, she pulls it off. She's got a great butt, you know, and great legs."

Ted Danson, who starred as Sam on "Cheers," wants also to do a guest shot on "Frasier," Grammer confirms, but no one has been able to come up with the right story line yet. "I would love to have Ted on the show. We're just so careful about it not being a stunt, you know? If we do it, we really want to make it a great script, something people would watch anyway, not just because Ted's on it."

The only complaint Grammer will make on the record about NBC is the network's failure to come up with shows that make suitable companions to "Frasier." After only two outings in the 8:30 lead-in slot, the network put "The Martin Short Show" on a hiatus that could well be terminal. Last week, NBC in its desperation aired two episodes of "Frasier," a new one and an old one, back-to-back.

Viewers who loved the "Seinfeld"-"Frasier" parlay have a right to be miffed. "I think they're thrown off a bit," Grammer says. "I don't blame them; it was a nice evening. Frankly, I don't think we're surrounded by the kind of shows that viewers would want to take on for the evening. The network has to come up with things that people will want to watch for the whole evening, not just my show."

No "Seinfeld" fan he. "I've watched it a couple of times. I don't watch much television," he says aristocratically. "I saw 'Home Improvement' once." Really? What did he think of it? "Can't tell ya. I don't want to get into a war with those guys." Did he laugh? "I did laugh," Grammer says with a sly grin. "I laughed once."

Death and Drugs He's not going to let stuff like ratings and scheduling get him down, because Grammer knows what real trauma is. Thus the responsibility of having an entire show on his shoulders failed to faze him much when "Frasier" began. "With all the stuff I've been through, I just thought, 'I'm certainly prepared for it now.'

"You're not very interesting unless you've suffered a little bit," Grammer says, "and actors, I'm afraid, if they're going to be any good, have to be kind of interesting, or else they have a pretty short-lived career." A review of his tragedy dossier suggests Grammer has suffered more than a little bit and that "all the stuff" has been formidable.

His father was murdered when Grammer was 12; his grandfather, to whom he was very close, died the following year. Grammer's sister was murdered when he was 20 and she 18, and two half brothers died in a drowning accident five years later. Two Grammer marriages have broken up, one of them to a 23-year-old ex-stripper who attempted suicide after they separated and thereby lost their unborn child. Grammer's current fiancee, he says, is a woman named Tammy whom he met in Las Vegas.

Then there were the drug problems. Grammer's cocaine addiction almost got him thrown off "Cheers"; in several episodes he appeared glassy-eyed and puffy-faced. He was convicted in the late '80s of drunken driving and cocaine possession and served 30 days in jail for failing to report for his community service sentence.

"The worst year in my life was the year after my sister got killed," he says. "I was way down there. I wasn't abusing anything, actually, but I was depressed to the point of complete despair and to the point where I couldn't get up sometimes. I'd stand at the refrigerator door and look at it and close it and it was two hours later -- stuff like that. Not a good time."

He does not go into much detail on his recovery from drugs. "I sort of reestablished my sense of faith. I'd been going through kind of a little battle with my belief system and I spent a lot of time running away from it and then I finally got adjusted to the idea that I hadn't abandoned it and it hadn't abandoned me."

Grammer balks at the idea of becoming a poster boy for recovering addicts and says he wouldn't do a public service announcement warning against the evils of drugs. "I would never do that 'cause I don't believe in that. I don't believe in preaching, not that way. I don't believe in taking my own personal experience and using that as a recommendation for either doing or not doing something. Everybody's got to make a decision about it on their own.

"I actually don't believe I have anything to apologize for. I really don't. I'm pleased with the way my life has gone -- every level of it. It's been great. 'Aw, I'm such a bad boy' -- no, I don't believe that." So then there are no bad boys? Grammer's eyes light up. "Oooh, yeah!" he exclaims, breaking the mood. "There's definitely some bad boys!"

He seems amused to learn that his chief competitor for viewers at 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Tim Allen of "Home Improvement," also did time for drug use. In 1980, while living in Michigan, Allen was sentenced to eight years for possession and distribution of narcotics. He served 28 months before being released with time off for good behavior.

"I didn't know about Tim's," Grammer says. "Oh, really? Ha! I never did that {sold drugs}. I just enjoyed my little addiction, and I had a lot of fun with it. It just got a little out of hand, and it was not improving my life." Asked whether he has any remaining vices, Grammer says, "I still have a drink once in a while. And, I mean -- sex. I cling to that concept in a pretty serious way. Yeah, I recommend it."

While on an airplane trip with the cast of "Cheers," a co-worker of Grammer's says, he emerged from the on-board bathroom with the announcement that he and his then-wife had just joined the mile-high club. He is fabled even in Hollywood for the intensity of his partying. But he is also considered one of the most intelligent actors working in television.

In one recent interview, Grammer sounded nonchalant about the work on "Frasier" and appeared to dismiss it as just another job he could take or leave. Grammer says now that he didn't mean to give that impression and doesn't feel that way. "I am very proud of what we've done. I am. I love the character, I really like the show. All the business hoopla around it, that matters to everyone around it, but the guys who are working on the show really want to do a really good show. I think this show makes a contribution to the quality of life, and I'm proud of that, dammit!"

How could his life be any better? "I could have a little more hair." And with that he stands, takes a deep breath, sticks out his chest, signs an autograph for a British couple sitting at a nearby table, and staggers onward rejoicing somehow. Nearly everyone smiles at the sight of him.