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NBC tones down its ‘Friends’ praise

Network irked Kelsey Grammer, others
/ Source: The Associated Press

OK, maybe “Friends” isn’t the “best comedy ever.”

NBC promised Thursday not to rerun a promo using that phrase to refer to the show, which will go off the air after 10 years in May.

“They were just trying to hype it and went overboard,” NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks said. “It ran once and it won’t run again.”

The ad irked some people, most prominently Kelsey Grammer, star of “Frasier,” five times the Emmy winner for best comedy. “Friends” has won the best comedy Emmy once.

“I don’t blame them for saying that,” Grammer told reporters last week. “Although, we all know it’s not true.”

Grammer admitted feeling a little overshadowed during the final year of his sitcom. “Frasier” will end its run a week after “Friends.”

NBC has been eagerly beating the drums for the “Friends” finale, which is being taped this week in Hollywood. Thirty-second ads for the show are reportedly being sold for $2 million, just shy of prices for the Super Bowl, according to Horizon Media, an ad buying firm.

“It will be more of a, I guess, social phenomenon for ‘Friends’ to leave than it will for ‘Frasier,’ so we will accept that,” Grammer said. “We’ve always been creatively, I’d like to think, setting a very high bar. And we can go out saying that we continued that to the end.”

CBS chief Leslie Moonves, never shy about tweaking his rivals at NBC, couldn’t resist a shot at the network for the “Friends” promo.

It takes a lot of chutzpah to call it the best comedy in television, Moonves said last weekend.

“The people who did ‘All in the Family’ and ‘M-A-S-H’ and ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ and ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘The Honeymooners’ and ‘Cheers’ and ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ all those shows, may have a little bit of a problem with that claim,” he said.