It’s official: Will & Grace is here to stay
Will & Grace will be around for a while yet – after the revival was picked up for enough episodes to see it through until 2020.
The popular gay sitcom made its return to the airwaves last autumn, with Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally all returning, along with the show’s creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan.
But while many TV revivals struggle to get beyond one season – 24, Heroes and Gilmore Girls all came back from the dead, only to return to it – the rebooted Will & Grace has proved a hit with viewers and NBC.
The network today announced that it had commissioned a third 18-episode season of the revived show, before the first season has even finished airing.
It also boosted the already-commissioned second season from 13 episodes to a full 18, set to air from this fall.
The season three order means that the reboot will be on the airwaves until early 2020 at least – a remarkable achievement for a TV show that was killed off more than a decade ago.
NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said: “As far as I’m concerned, we can’t get enough of ‘Will & Grace’ and 23 more episodes is music to my ears.
“We’re eternally grateful that Debra, Eric, Sean and Megan feel the same way and wanted to keep this good thing going. I’m overwhelmed by the euphoric response the new show has received from the press and the audience, and my hat is off to the unrivaled writing team of Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, as well as the brilliant directing of Jimmy Burrows, for consistently delivering one of the best shows on television.”
Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez is set for a guest spot on the popular series.
J-Lo is set to appear in two upcoming episodes of the current season, more than a decade after she last appeared on the comedy.
Lopez, who previously appeared in the show as herself in 2004, will appear in two roles.
She will appear both as herself, and in a cross-over role as Harlee Santos, her character in NBC crime drama Shades of Blue.
Will & Grace officially confirmed her appearance, by posting a photo of her with Jack (Sean Hayes), Grace (Debra Messing) and Karen (Megan Mullally).
Sean Hayes said: “Super excited to have @jlo back on @nbcwillandgrace this season. #WillAndGrace #ShadesOfBlue”.
Other prominent guest stars in the new season include Glee’s Jane Lynch and Girls star Andrew Rannells, who made an appearance as the leaders of a gay ‘cure’ camp.
That episode takes repeated potshots at US Vice President Mike Pence, an alleged supporter of gay ‘cure’ therapy,
Will & Grace co-creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan explained that the plotline was inspired by Pence’s gay cure support.
They said: “We don’t recognise it as a form of therapy — we only recognise it as a form of torture.”
The show, which has been airing on NBC in the US, finally made its return to screens in the UK in January.
In addition to the main four, the show has featured the return of fan favourites Leo Markus (Harry Connick Jr), Lorraine Finster (Minnie Driver) and Beverey Leslie (Leslie Jordan)
In the UK the show airs on Channel 5, which is picking up the latest instalments of the barrier-breaking US TV show with a delay of several months.
Speaking to PinkNews, Channel 5’s vice-president of acquisitions Katie Keenan said: “Will & Grace is one of the greatest comedy shows of our time, so we’re thrilled to see it return to TV screens.
“With the hugely talented cast reprising their roles and tackling the issues of today with their razor-sharp wit, Will & Grace will become ‘must-see’ television in 2018.
“This deal follows the confirmation that The X-Files will return in early 2018, demonstrating our appetite for the best content across the world.”
Channel 5 called it “one of television’s most critically acclaimed series and one of the most influential shows in the last 20 years for the LGBT community.”
Fans should be prepared for a season full of twists, political commentary and technological updates, as the show gets to grips with life after the invention of the smartphone.
McCormack, Messing, Hayes and Mullally had been on the PR trail ahead of the show’s return.
They made a bizarre appearance on a new talk show hosted by conservative former Fox News personality Megyn Kelly.
Kelly appeared visibly uncomfortable throughout an excruciating interview with the cast.
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The host then spoke to a fan of the show, asking: “Is it true that you became a lawyer, and became gay, because of Will?”
Asked why the cast had agreed to appear, she wrote on Instagram: “I honestly I didn’t know it was [Megyn Kelly] until that morning.
“The itinerary just said Today Show appearance. Regret going on. Dismayed by her comments.”