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 Outstanding Comedy Series in 2000, it is credited with paving the way for LGBT characters on TV, featuring the first openly gay lead characters on a primetime network series.
The Will & Grace revival is getting another very early renewal. With two episodes left to air from of its first season, NBC has ordered an 18-episode third season for fall 2019. That would be the multi-camera comedy’s 11th season overall, including its original eight-season run on NBC.
The network picked up the Will & Grace revival for a 13-episode second season in August, ahead of its September debut. That second season, slated for fall 2018, has now been expanded from 13 to 18 episodes with an order for five additional episodes. The announcement is being made tonight during the Will & Grace panel at PaleyFest. With today’s pickup of 23 more episodes — 5 in Season 2 and 18 in Season 3 — the revival’s episode total has climbed to 52.
The renewal extends Will & Grace‘s improbable comeback. It started with a surprise 10-minute election-themed mini-episode in fall 2016 that led to a 10-episode series order for a new season of the Emmy-winning comedy on NBC. That order was increased to 12 episodes in spring 2017 and to 16 in August the same year. The last two of the 16 episodes are slated to air March 29 and April 5.
The Will & Grace revival reunites original stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes. Because of how it came to be, I hear the quartet did not have long-term deals going into it. I hear they made new deals for Season 2 and now again for Season 3, netting sizable salary increases. (Their recent paychecks were reported to be $250,000 an episode.)
Along with the original cast, back are Will & Grace creators/executive producers Max Mutchnick and David Kohan as well as director/executive producer James Brurrows, joined by a number of the original series’ writers.
Will & Grace has been a commercial and critical success for NBC. It is anchoring the network’s new Must See TV Thursday lineup, Will & Grace is averaging a 3.1 adults 19-49 rating and 9.8 million viewers overall in Live+7. It is NBC’s top rated comedy series, improving its Thursday time slot by +48% versus NBC’s year-ago results for regular non-sports programming in 18-49. Will & Grace is NBC’s most-watched primetime comedy at this point in the season in eight years and has
Additionally, the revival has garnered critical praise, returning to awards consideration with major nominations after winning a slew of trophies during its original run. It also opened the door for other revivals of classic sitcoms with the original cast, including ABC’s Roseanne and CBS’ Murphy Brown.
“As far as I’m concerned, we can’t get enough of Will & Grace, and 23 more episodes is music to my ears,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said. “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.”
The current first season of the Will & Grace revival has featured such guest stars as Jennifer Lopez, Alec Baldwin, Minnie Driver, Ben Platt, Molly Shannon, Jane Lynch and Andrew Rannells. Universal TV is the studio.