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posted: 9/22/2017 9:00 AM

Frasier Crane would tell you never to count out 'Young Sheldon'

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  • Will "Young Sheldon" go the way of "Frasier," a hugely successful spinoff? Or "Friends" dud "Joey"?

    Will "Young Sheldon" go the way of "Frasier," a hugely successful spinoff? Or "Friends" dud "Joey"?
    Courtesy of CBS

 
 

Will CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" spinoff "Young Sheldon," following the younger version of Jim Parsons' iconic sitcom character, be a "Frasier," a "Joey" or an "Enos"?

You've certainly heard of the first one -- "Frasier" took Kelsey Grammer's psychiatrist out of that Boston bar called "Cheers" and put him in a Seattle radio studio, where he doled out advice to wacky callers when he wasn't participating in farcical high jinks with his brother (David Hyde Pierce) and father (John Mahoney). "Frasier" premiered in 1993 just months after "Cheers" ended and won 37 Emmys in its 11 seasons. ("Cheers" won 28.)

You've probably heard of "Joey," but don't remember much about it except the name and the star. Matt LeBlanc reprised his lovable, dimwitted role from "Friends" in this mediocre half-hour that ran out of gas in 2006 after two seasons despite a fun cast that included Drea de Matteo of "The Sopranos" and Jennifer Coolidge, aka Stifler's Mom. (Speaking of which, if you haven't seen the original "American Pie" lately, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how funny it still is.)

And then there's "Enos." Do you remember "Enos"? (I didn't think so.) "Enos" followed the "Dukes of Hazzard" character from Georgia to Los Angeles, where star Sonny Shroyer fought crime for 18 episodes in 1980 and '81 until CBS pulled the plug. Perhaps the most notable thing about this failed show is Shroyer's co-star, Samuel E. Wright. You may not know his name, but you've heard his voice sing "Under the Sea" about a million times; he played Sebastian the crab in 1989's "The Little Mermaid."

Of course, it will be nearly impossible for "Young Sheldon" to reach the heights of "Frasier." Few sitcoms have. It's extremely difficult to create a spinoff that fully distinguishes itself from the source material unless you're a TV genius like Vince Gilligan ("Better Call Saul"), Dick Wolf ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit") or Garry Marshall ("Laverne and Shirley").

But maybe, just maybe, "Sheldon" executive producer Chuck Lorre belongs in that pantheon. His shows' many detractors would scoff at the notion, but his track record speaks for itself: "The Big Bang Theory" is on the cusp of its 11th season and will run for at least one more. "Two and a Half Men" survived Charlie Sheen's replacement with Ashton Kutcher and ran for 12 seasons. "Mom" is about to begin its fifth season on CBS, and Allison Janney has two Emmys to show for it.

"Young Sheldon" has been a Twitter punchline since it was first announced, but don't be shocked if it's still on 10 years from now. That tends to happen with CBS shows, doesn't it? (Did you know "Survivor" is still going?!?)

Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor who, in the interest of full disclosure, must say that he can't stand "The Big Bang Theory." He's on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.

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