BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Fans of the classic NBC sitcom Cheers rejoiced today as a massive data breach revealed that long-gestating rumors regarding a secret character hidden within the series turned out to be true.
“I remember reading on message boards back in ‘96 that Niles was originally meant to be in Cheers, but got cut from the final release at the last minute,” said well-known sitcom speedrunner FoolHouse. “There were all these little hints people kept pointing to that showed he was meant to be a part of it. In some scenes set in Sam Malone’s office, you can supposedly make out a note on his desk that reads ‘N is Real 2401.’ I dunno. I guess I just never thought it was true until now.”
The files in question were part of a massive data breach at NBC Studios that revealed decades worth of top-secret development information, including a scrapped Seinfeld MMORPG and a beta version of Quantum Leap with drastically different art direction. The authenticity of the uploaded documents was doubted by many until James Burrows, co-creator of Cheers, tweeted what appeared to be a confirmation of the authenticity.
“I haven’t seen this stuff in decades!” he said in a post alongside a picture of Nile Crane’s character model and some rough audio of Frasier offering his brother a glass of sherry. “When we introduced Frasier in the third season, we were going to give him a brother at first. He was going to just be a palette swap of Frasier that was a bit thinner and could jump higher. Sadly, when it came time to produce the show in front of a live studio audience, we just couldn’t get to everything we wanted, and we scrapped the Niles stuff and hoped we would just get to it another day.”
Dr. Niles Crane eventually did come to television in 1993 as a principal character in his brother’s titular spinoff, where he became a favorite among audiences. At press time, debates were raging across the internet over whether or not the Norm Peterson character model was simply a reskinned Jackie Gleason from The Honeymooners.
Check out our comedy podcast The Video Game Super Show! Show, in which two of our editors watch and discuss every episode of 1989’s Captain N: The Game Master: