‘Cheers: The Unknown Story’: Why Shelley Long Left the Cast & More

CHEERS stars Shelley Long and Ted Danson in a 1987 episode at the bar
© NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Learn why Shelley Long left the cast of “Cheers,” watch that episode of  “The Jeffersons” when Louise was kidnapped and catch the hilarious “Ted Baxter Meets Walter Cronkite” episode on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” All part of what’s on today.


Classic TV on Today: Wednesday, March 8

Cheers: The Unknown Story

Reelz, 7am

One of the most beloved sitcoms of the ’80s and ’90s didn’t start off that way, according to the producers of this documentary. After its 1982 premiere, Cheers was on the chopping block for NBC, as it ranked nearly last in the ratings. Due to a loyal — and growing — fan base, who was eager to see the ups and downs of the first “will they or won’t they” couple, Sam (Ted Danson) and Diane (Shelley Long), the series eventually grew to a Top 10 certified hit for eight of its 11 seasons. Cheers spent one season at No. 1 and became one of the most popular series in history; its series finale was watched by an estimated 93 million viewers. Reelz takes a close and intimate look at the early days of Cheers, the shock and awe of Long’s decision to leave the series during its heyday, the casting of unique and memorable characters, and how Cheers became a true destination for anyone who wanted to go “where everybody knows your name.”

MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW stars Edward Asner, Walter Cronkite, Mary Tyler Moore, Ted Knight, Gavin MacLeod

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: “Ted Baxter Meets Walter Cronkite”

Decades, 2:30pm

In this Season 4 episode, Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) finally thinks he’s going to capture the Teddy Award as best newscaster. His plan to win was to “overexpose” himself, with oodles of public appearances making him look like a humanitarian (despite how insincere his sentiments actually are). He even hires Rhoda (Valerie Harper) to come up with a marketing plan. Ted miraculously wins, to the disappointment of the rest of the newsroom. When Walter Cronkite comes to the newsroom to visit Lou (Ed Asner), Ted arrogantly assumes that he is there to congratulate him and that his luck is finally about to change. That silly man!


The Jeffersons: “The Grand Opening”

Antenna TV, 8pm

This Season 4 two-part episode is a big day for George (Sherman Hemsley) as he readies for a party that celebrates the opening of his new office. George’s typical bragging, this time about his wealth, is overheard by two men who kidnap Louise (Isabel Sanford) and demand a ransom.