Who knew that 11 years after Will & Grace went off the air, the beloved series would be returning for a ninth season?
As you may already know, Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally are reuniting for a 10-episode season during beginning later this year.
Now, in an exclusive interview, Messing is looking back at the NBC show’s beginnings in 1998. “When we filmed the pilot we knew that it was risky and we felt very deeply that it was an extraordinary pilot and the writing was beyond hilarious,” Messing told me while promoting her new partnership with CoolSculpting (more on that in a second). “But we all looked around and said, ‘We could be cancelled after three episodes…[because] America may not be ready for this show. As you know, Ellen DeGeneres‘ [sitcom] had just gone off the air. We just didn’t know.”
Will & Grace would go on to become a pop culture phenomenon, earning 16 Emmys and 83 nominations.
The Will & Grace comeback was prompted after the cast reunited for a get-out-the-vote video during the 2016 presidential election. The 10-minute special featured the four in character discussing Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. It garnered about six million views online.
“NBC didn’t even know we were doing it,” said Messing, who was a surrogate for the Clinton campaign. “But then the phone call came and the four of us got together and had dinner and looked around the table and we were like, ‘What do you think?’ and we all unanimously felt we needed to laugh and we wanted more than anything to make other people laugh right now with the state of our country, the state of our world, the chaos, the fear and the confusion. We thought, you know what, we have so much to say in the only way we can say it, which is always putting the funny first but also always commenting on what is happening in politics and pop culture and social norms.
The new season will begin shooting in August. Details are being kept under wraps, but there is a very tricky scenario they must get past. When the series ended, the show jumped ahead 20 years with Will and Grace reuniting for the first time in 18 years when they’re moving their children into their college dorms in…2026!
“I’ve been assured by our brilliant show creators that they have very quickly and magically created a universe in which we’re all back together,” Messing said. She also said they will “absolutely” honor the late Debbie Reynolds, who played Grace’s mom on the show.