January 13, 2004 01:55 PM

As was strongly hinted over the weekend, NBC officially confirmed on Monday that its Tuesdays would never again be the same: “Frasier” has been canceled.

The final episode will air this May after an 11-year run. The Emmy-laden comedy (“Frasier” took the gold for best comedy for five straight years, from 1994 to 1998) was actually a spinoff of the popular ’80s sitcom “Cheers,” which means that leading man Kelsey Grammer, 48, has been filling the shoes of psychologist Frasier Crane for 20 years.

Grammer had made noises that he was open to continuing into a 12th season, at least. He even hinted that he might be open to a pay cut in his reportedly $1.6-million-per-episode salary.

But NBC gave the high cost of producing the show (about $5.2 million per episode, due to some of the highest actor salaries in the business) as the reason for bringing down the final curtain, though ratings have been slipping.

“The finances would not have worked for another season,” said NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks.

“There were very good reasons to do it, and very good reasons not to do it,” Christopher Lloyd, one of the show’s writers, tells the Associated Press. “Ultimately, everybody sized it up and said, ‘Let’s go out on a high note.’ ”

Just how high that will be remains to be seen. According to AP, the writers are only now beginning to decide how to end the series.

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