With the Will & Grace revival’s Season 3 renewal announcement, fans rejoiced at PaleyFest in Los Angeles on Saturday. This will also be a longer run than the previous season, said creator/executive producer Max Mutchnick.
“We have been picked up for five more episodes next year, so we’re not doing 13, we’re doing 18,” he said, while cast members Debra Messing and Eric McCormack got up and did a little dance on the PaleyFest stage, and Megan Mullally kicked up her legs up in delight.
Originally on air from 1998-2006, the show returned to much critical acclaim last year, with its topical, comedic take on the mostly-single lives of a group of New Yorkers.
“There’s certainly a pressure to live up to it this time around,” McCormack said of the revival, “but we knew we could be these characters again. I just feel like this has been a magic carpet ride, this reboot.”
“I was pretty excited to see what was going on in Grace’s life at that time,” Messing added. “I loved the fact that she was a single working woman, who was thriving and happy, and had great friendships and was just doing great.”
Mullally said she’d had a “psychic” feeling the show would come back as soon as she saw the script for the short election video that would eventually spark the show’s revival.
“When I first read the election video script,” she said, “I put it down and I emailed Max Mutchnick, and I said, ‘Why can’t we just do the show again?’ And he emailed back, ‘We can.’ And neither of us knew, we just pulled it out of asses. But I just got this strong, incredibly overpowering feeling that we would do the show again.”
One of the first issues that arose with the revival, creator/ EP David Kohan said, was that Will and Grace had both had children in original show’s finale. “Will and Grace are parents,” Kohan said, “and if the kids are not really around, then they’re bad parents.” The problem was, Mutchnick and Kohan wanted to focus on the fan favorites: the central four characters of Will (McCormack), Grace (Messing), Karen (Mullally) and Jack (Sean Hayes). It was, “do we really want to see the four of them,” Kohan said, “and if that’s the case, how do we dispose of the children?’
Following a screening of the revival’s Season 2 penultimate episode “One Job,” guest starring Alec Baldwin, panel moderator Dan Bucatinsky asked the cast about their favorite guest stars. Messing recalled Debbie Reynolds, who played Grace’s mother for ten episodes.
“Working with Debbie was really indescribable,” Messing said. “She was a broad in the greatest sense, and she always was entertaining and singing and dancing, then running off and doing a one-woman show 300 days a year. She and I would talk about being mothers, because I was a new mother….we talked about Carrie, and we talked about the challenges of being a working mom. She really became someone very, very special in my heart.”
Bucatinsky also guest starred as Neil in 1998, and reprised his role in the revival’s second season. He said that the original show “gave us gay people the permission to be seen and to be heard.”