Will & Grace gets two new seasons
BEVERLY HILLS— Will and Grace and Karen and Jack are back, and NBC has them.
After an eight-year run and an 11year absence, the groundbreaking hit sitcom returns to NBC for a 16episode run on Sept. 28, and a second, 13-episode season. And it returns with its original stars — Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes — and creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan.
If you saw the original series finale, you may remember that it ended with Will and Grace happily partnered — Will with Vince, Grace with Leo — and raising children. Well, when the show returns, the partners and the children will be forgotten.
“That was more or less a fantasy,” Kohan says.
Adds Mutchnick, “We never would have gone in that direction if we weren’t ending the show.”
When Will & Grace first aired, NBC asked the writers to stress the friendships among the characters and downplay the fact that two of them, Will and Jack, were gay.
That’s all changed, says McCormack. “Now the message is ‘we are us,’ and we represent a lot of people in the country, gay and straight, and we’re not apologizing for who we are.”
It can be hard to try to recapture past glories, but Hayes says the cast immediately fell back into their old groove. “We’ve all become brothers and sisters and family. Moving forward with the show, it fits like a glove.”
“When we sat down together, it just came to life in ways I’d never seen before or since,” says Messing. “I think of comedy as music, and each one of us is a different instrument. And when we play together, we’re at our best.”
There’s another difference: Hayes, who was in the closet when Will originally aired, is now out. While he says he wishes he had come out earlier, he just wasn’t ready.
“At the time, I didn’t have the DNA to speak for a whole community. I didn’t have the words to do that, and I wish I did. But now I find that words come easier.”