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Why Lisa Kudrow Was Fired From Frasier

Friends Liz Kudrow Phoebe Roz Frasier

Lisa Kudrow was originally hired to play Roz Doyle on Frasier but here's why she was fired from the classic sitcom. Frasier Crane debuted during the third episode of Cheers, played by Kelsey Grammer. The character was originally offered to John Lithgow (Pet Sematary), who turned it down to focus on his film career. Frasier was introduced as the new love interest for Diane, but while he was only intended to appear in a few episodes, Grammer proved to be so good in the role the character eventually became part of the show's ensemble.

The character eventually earned his own spinoff in 1993 with the aptly titled Frasier. The show found Frasier taking a new radio job in Seattle where he also has to look after his estranged, ex-cop father Martin and snooty brother Niles, played by David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy). The show's impeccable comic writing and the chemistry between the cast saw it become just as popular as Cheers, and the show would run for eleven seasons, ending in 2004. There's currently talk of Grammer reprising the role for a revival series, though this hasn't been confirmed yet.

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Another fan favorite character from Frasier is Roz Doyle, the producer of Crane's radio show. Despite an initially snippy relationship between Roz and Frasier, they eventually grow to be very close friends. Peri Gilpin memorably played the character, though she was originally edged out of the part by another actress, Lisa Kudrow.

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe in Friends

Frasier co-creator Peter Casey once explained on writer Ken Levine's blog that after many actresses auditioned for Roz, it came down to Lisa Kudrow and Peri Gilpin. While Gilpin appeared to be the obvious choice, the showrunners liked the enduring quirkiness Kudrow brought to it. Sadly, it soon became clear during rehearsals for the pilot that Kudrow's take wasn't quite the right fit. The producers felt her Roz wasn't forceful or assertive when compared to Grammer's Frasier, which is the dynamic they were seeking. After the third day of rehearsals, Kudrow was fired and quickly replaced by Peri Gilpin.

While Lisa Kudrow admits she was initially heartbroken over being removed from Frasier and losing out on what she knew would be a major opportunity, she dusted herself off and moved on. She would find the perfect role for her talents in Friends the next year, which became one of the biggest sitcoms of all-time. Kudrow no doubt would have been a great choice for Frasier, but ultimately, it feels like Friends was a much better fit.

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