Ted Danson was one of the “most unhappy” people while making Cheers

Ted Danson was at the centre of '90s TV show Cheers as bartender and bachelor Sam Malone. But his experience on the sitcom wasn't always plain-sailing.


Ted Danson might have been the heart and soul of Cheers, but according to Emma Thompson, he was miserable during his time on the sitcom. The eleven-season show, which produced 275 episodes between 1982 and 1993, starred Danson as Sam Malone, the proprietor and bartender of Cheers.

Throughout his time on Cheers, which critics consider one of the best TV series ever made, Malone is defined by his various romantic entanglements and enviable bachelor lifestyle — although the show ends with him alone, seeking help for his sex addiction. One of the best comedy series of all time, Cheers won countless accolades during its eleven-year run, and had a revolving door of guest stars including Emma Thompson.

During a talk at the Royal Television Society conference (via Variety), Thompson recounted her guest appearance on the ‘90s TV show, and admitted that Danson looked a little down in the dumps.

“I can remember going on doing a tiny little part in Cheers,” she said. “And I just remember meeting Ted Danson, one of the nicest people in the world, and one of the most unhappy because he’d been doing it for so long. And I remember looking at him and thinking, ‘Why are you so unhappy?’ And it was because he wanted to be able to do other things but this has defined him for such a long time he couldn’t get out.”

She continued, “If you sign up to something… you have to agree that if it’s a success you then carry on playing the same character for what can be many years,” Thompson explained. “And I personally wouldn’t have developed what I’ve developed, in that I wouldn’t have the longevity that I have had. And I think that’s because I don’t like to have a comfort zone. I think I’m much more creative — and lots of people are more creative — when they’re not just repeating themselves.”

Maybe the Cheers set was Danson’s idea of the Bad Place?

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If you like Cheers (or at the very least, like it more than Ted Danson), be sure to check out our guide to the Frasier reboot release date, with the series set to drop on streaming service Paramount Plus on October 12.

You can also catch up on old episodes of Cheers and Frasier on the streamer, or if you want to see what new movies and Paramount Plus shows the platform has, check out our guides to everything new on Paramount Plus and Yellowstone season 5 part 2.