EXCLUSIVE: NBC wants more Will & Grace. Originally picked up in January for a 10-episode limited installment, the Emmy-winning comedy is getting its order expanded and will return next season with 12 new episodes.
The Will & Grace revival quickly has emerged as one NBC’s top assets for next season and is featured front and center in the NBCUniversal’s upfront spots unveiled today, which tout the company’s entire portfolio of networks (you can watch one of the ads below).
The new, ninth season of Will & Grace — reuniting original stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes — stems from the surprise election-themed reunion mini-episode released on September 26. Done without NBC’s involvement, it immediately triggered talk of a series revival.
Shepherding the new episodes, which are expected to pick up the characters’ stories a decade after the 2006 finale, are Will & Grace creators/executive producers Max Mutchnick and David Kohan as well as director/executive producer James Burrows.
Co-creator/executive producer Mutchnick was behind the Will & Grace reunion mini-episode, bringing the cast together and getting the original set re-assembled in the basement of the lot where the NBC series filmed. He and Kohan wrote the script, with additional punch-up work by Will & Grace alums Gary Janetti and Bill Wrubel.
Mutchnick also has a multi-camera comedy pilot at NBC, Relatively Happy, eyed as a potential companion to Will & Grace.
Will & Grace, which aired from 1998-2006 as one of the last tentpoles of NBC’s once-venerable Must-See TV comedy lineup, has a great legacy: In addition to winning 16 Emmys, including best comedy series, it is credited with paving the way for LGBT characters on TV, featuring the first openly gay lead characters on a primetime network series.