Spencer Grammer: A Degree Of Success

By Stacey Harrison

Don’t say sophomore slump to Spencer Grammer. The star of ABC Family’s “Greek” — which in its first season has become the network’s biggest ratings winner ever among adults 18-34 — is confident the college comedy won’t lose any luster when the second half of Season 1 debuts March 24.

That is, if the feeling on set is any indication.

“We all know what’s expected of us now, and that makes it a lot easier,” she says. “[At first], you’re just kind of getting used to everybody. Now we all know each other, and we’re able to play off each other better.”

With time has also come more insight into her character, Casey Cartwright, who went from slightly snobby sorority girl to unlikely leader. While Casey was all about image at first — taking back a cheating boyfriend because of his social cache, and cruelly shunning her dorky younger brother — she later found herself willing to take the fall for a drinking scandal that rocked Cyprus-Rhodes University, only to be rewarded for her integrity by being offered the Zeta Beta Zeta presidency.

Now on good terms with her brother (played by Jacob Zachar), and with no social ladder left to climb, Casey will be adjusting to a very different life when viewers catch up with her.

“This season is about Casey finding her own person, and doing that as a single person instead of just worrying about who she’s going to be with,” Grammer says. “Everyone goes through that.”

What everyone doesn’t go through is growing up with a famous father. As the daughter of “Frasier” star Kelsey Grammer and dance instructor Doreen Alderman, the 24-year-old got a front-row seat to the world of big-time acting and celebrity, even getting in front of the camera as a child with a walk-on role in an episode of “Cheers.”

There were drawbacks, though, to having to share him with the public.

“As a little kid, I’d totally get jealous,” she says, “not [of] all the attention my dad was getting, but I was like ‘Hey, that’s my dad.'”

While she did end up following her old man into the family business, Grammer spent her formative years in New York, far away from Los Angeles and the Hollywood lifestyle. She’s only a recent transplant to the West Coast, and manages to stay out of the gossip pages that feed on so many young starlets.

Still, she does attract a fair amount of press coverage. And surely as her dad learned before her, along with that comes some misinformation that gets reported as truth.

For instance, an online search finds several articles that say Grammer studied Brazilian art history in college. Sounds like something a rich kid with a lot of time on her hands might do, right?

“The only thing I can think of is that I told someone I ‘originally’ studied art history, and I guess that sounded like ‘Brazilian,'” she says. “But that’s not true. That’s more like something for grad school.”

One area of study that was helpful for her was 1980s teen movies, which “Greek” creator Patrick Sean Smith says was a big inspiration for him. She cops to having seen and loved movies like “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Weird Science” and “The Sure Thing.”

“Those movies are just great and timeless for a lot of people. I love things that make you laugh, and make you cry.”

Photo: ©2008 ABC FAMILY.