John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff on "Cheers" for 11 years, credits the TV show's long run to the talents of its writers. He also says he hopes to play the character he loves so much once more in a "Cheers" reunion.
“I think it was the last generation of writers to read books,” Ratzenberger told me on the set of my HDNet talk show "Naughty But Nice." “And now most writers have grown up watching TV, so what you have now is just old jokes in 'I Love Lucy,' but in 'Cheers' they were all original. They were very literate. Cheers wouldn’t get on the air today."
John explains that when the show debuted on NBC it was dead-last in the ratings. The network wanted to cancel it, but former NBC chairman Grant Tinker wanted to keep it on the air because he enjoyed it. He gave it another season, "Cheers" swept the Emmys and the viewers tuned in.These days, Ratzenberger has turned his attention to another project: the M.O.S.T. Program initiative. “What we do is we go and identify jobs, we go to the manufacturers and ask them what they need. And pull up our mobile unit that has workshops and mobile classrooms. And we train the people; we have put 11,000 veterans back to work in just the last year,” Ratzenberger said. “I’m a big fan of Western civilization, and I make no bones about it. Without this country, the world would collapse in chaos. But the strength of America is manufacturing! If all the people who worked as manufacturers, truck drivers, welders, builders didn’t show up for one day, the world would fall apart.” Still great friends with his old cast mates, Ratzenberger joked that they meet up at Ted Danson's house every Thursday, and confessed he would love to do a reunion. “Every President of NBC I bump into, I tell them my phone is working and why haven’t we done a reunion?” Ratzenberger said. “You think they would do it like once a year -– a Christmas special. We are never too old to sit at a bar!”
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