If there is a show on television that could be said to have contributed to the normalization of the portrayal of LGBT persons on pop media, and eventually in real life, a strong case can be made for NBC’s “Will & Grace.” Premiering in 1998 and airing on that network until 2006, the remarkably hilarious home lives of a cohabiting gay lawyer and straight interior designer, along with their friends, was a big enough hit that a one-off 2017 revival did not take much to be expanded into more seasons, with one announced before the follow-up even aired. But that extra season also turns out to be the second finale.
E! News Online tells us that the third season of the revival run for “Will & Grace” will be the last of the series. Said season, slated for release on NBC in 2020, will be the eleventh total of the sitcom’s entire run, along with the eight previous seasons in the previous decades. The official announcement was made by NBC itself on Thursday, July 25, along with thanks for the creators, cast, and crew of the show. The decision to end however was not on the network but the production.
According to an Instagram message from co-lead star Debra Messing, who plays Grace Adler, the revival of “Will & Grace” has simply reached the right time to close the curtains once more. She noted that the ninth season return of the show, inspired by positive reception to a 2016 10-minute reunion special PSA about the US Presidential Elections that year, was only supposed to run 10 to 12 episodes within a year, only to be expanded by NBC to 16, along with the announcement of a follow-up season 10. “What a miracle. We are all committed to making this season the best ever, and to wrap up the story of Will, Grace, Jack and Karen in a way that feels meaningful and right,” says Messing.
NBC Entertainment co-chairs Paul Delegdy and George Cheeks noted that the network jumped at an opening to reunite the creators and actors for another go at “Will & Grace.” The impact and legacy of Will & Grace simply can’t be overstated,” they said, “both as a true game-changer in the portrayal of the LGBTQ community and as one of the finest comedies in television history.”
Creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan do note the appropriateness of ending now, saying, “We think of the ‘Will & Grace’ reboot episodes the way Karen Walker thinks of martinis – 51 is not enough, 53 is too many. That is why, after consulting with the cast, we all have decided this will be the final season of Will & Grace.”
“Will & Grace” also stars Eric McCormack as gay attorney Will Truman, Megan Mullaly as Grace’s socialite “assistant” Karen Mullaly, and Sean Hayes as Will’s flamboyant actor friend Jack McFarland. The most recent season (10th overall) premiered October 4 last year and ended April 4 with 18 episodes, with the 11th season coming in 2020.
Image courtesy of Fox News