‘Frasier’: How Much Money Would Niles Crane Have Made as a Real Person?

Frasier followed the life of Frasier Crane as he settled into life in Seattle as a radio show host. The famed psychiatrist headed back to his home city after a disastrous divorce back in Boston. Once back in Seattle, he re-established a relationship with his father, Martin Crane, and his younger brother Niles Crane. The Crane boys might have been great friends, but they still had a pretty intense sibling rivalry. Niles may have been jealous of his brother’s notoriety, but he didn’t do bad for himself either. So, how much money would Niles have made if he was a real person?

What did Niles do for a living?

At the start of the series, Niles made it clear that the bulk of his spending was thanks to his wife, Maris. From a wealthy background, Maris apparently bankrolled the majority of Niles’ lifestyle. The home they lived in, during their marriage, for example, was purchased by Maris’ family. It would seem that his car, his clothing allowance, and other necessities were also covered by his wife. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have his own job.

David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane and Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane
David Hyde Pierce as Dr. Niles Crane and Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane | Bill Reitzel/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Niles, much like his brother, was a psychiatrist. While Frasier moved on to a radio show, Niles kept himself busy with a private practice. During the duration of the series, Niles mentioned patients on and off, which leads viewers to assume that his practice saw a healthy stream of clients. In theory, he should have been making plenty of money to survive and thrive.

How much would he have made in private practice?

Medscape notes that the average private practice psychiatrist made $260,000 in 2019.  The final season of Frasier aired in 2004, so it’s safe to assume Niles was earning less than the $260,000 figure at that time. In 2004, the average psychiatrist in private practice would have earned around $180,000 per year. While that was certainly enough money, in 2004, to live comfortably, Niles had pretty expensive tastes.

In fact, it became pretty apparent that Niles had not saved a dime when his divorce from Maris’ begins to move forward, and he was forced to take up residence in an efficiency apartment complex. One would presume that someone like Niles, who seemingly paid for nothing during his marriage, would have had a nest egg to fall back on. That was not the case.

Who made more money, Frasier or Niles?

One may assume that Frasier’s notoriety translated into a ton of money, but his life as a radio show host likely didn’t garner him a ton of cash, at least not initially. When Frasier returned to Seattle, he had never been on the radio before. Those just starting in radio tend to earn less than you would expect, with the average newbie earning around $65,000.

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Assuming that Frasier negotiated a contract that would, at the very least, equal what he’d make as a psychiatrist, he likely earned more than $65,000, but he probably wasn’t rolling in dough. By the end of the series, he likely earned around $300,000. While that’s more than Niles’ assumed salary, he wasn’t making a ton more cash than his little brother.