NBC hastily yanked promotional spots Thursday for a “Cheers” episode about a postal carrier thought to have killed his mother — a plot eerily similar to a real-life slaying the same day.

Although the spots promoting Thursday’s special hourlong episode of the NBC sitcom were pulled, the show aired as scheduled, said network spokeswoman Pat Schultz.

In the episode, postal worker Cliff Clavin’s mother vanishes from the apartment they share and the “Cheers” gang begins to suspect he may have killed her.

Viewers realize early in the show, however, that Cliff (John Ratzenberger) has sent his mother (Frances Sternhagen) to a rest home, Schultz said.

The plot, condensed for 30- and 60-second spots, might have been misleading in light of Thursday’s events, Schultz said.

In Dana Point, an affluent section of California’s Orange County, a fired postal worker on Thursday fatally shot a letter carrier and wounded a clerk at a post office, authorities and witnesses said.

Earlier Thursday, a disgruntled worker shot three people, killing one, at a post office garage in Dearborn, Mich. The gunman later was found dead.

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