updated 01/16/2004 AT 12:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/16/2004 AT 1:51 PM ET
Contrary to initial reports that “Frasier” would go quietly into syndication when the show folds up its tent after 11 years this May, NBC announced on Thursday that the Emmy-winning comedy will instead end with a two-hour goodbye – as will the network’s other swan song series, the 10-year-old “Friends.”
Both two-hour finales will take place during the May ratings sweeps period, said Jeff Zucker, president of NBC’s entertainment, news and cable group.
“Friends,” which is expected to set a record for the sixth straight season as TV’s highest-rated comedy, will depart on May 6. After a one-hour retrospective, the final episode (which is being shot next Friday in Burbank) will last another hour, reports the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) and his Seattle posse will be given the same treatment a week later.
“The two Thursday nights in a row will give the proper send-off to these two classic comedies that have been as important to our history as any two shows,” said Zucker.
Meanwhile, there was a major development (and some flashbacks) on “Friends” Thursday night, building up to the fact that the pals are about to go their separate ways. (SPOILER ALERT: Do not continue reading if you haven’t watched your TiVo.)
After everyone – but Monica (Courteney Cox) – was convinced that Chandler (Matthew Perry) was having an affair with a comely blonde, it turned out that the other woman was actually a real-estate agent who’s sold Chandler and Monica a house in suburban Westchester, so their child could play in a backyard, ride a bike on the street and buy ice-cream from an ice-cream man.
“You’re moving to the ’50s?” asked Ross (David Schwimmer), leading the battery of protests against the move.
In order to avoid confrontation with their friends over the fact that they might be leaving, Chandler told Monica in front of the group that the deal fell through. But once they were alone, Chandler told Monica the real news: The house is theirs.
During the closing credits, Chandler and Monica gave Ross, Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) presents, then broke the news to them and made a mad dash for the door.