The characters on Will & Grace are a lot like those of Friends or Seinfeld: a group of New York pals who’ve spent their Thursday nights on NBC exploring every possible avenue of shallowness and self-absorption. Well, maybe not every avenue; NBC and the show’s producers apparently feel that there are still 24 episodes worth of new story ideas. According to the Hollywood Reporter, after a long negotiation over cast salaries and license fees, the network has renewed the show for an eighth and probably final season.
According to the Reporter, all four stars are getting raises, with leads Eric McCormack and Debra Messing getting $600,000 per episode (up from $400,000 this season), and supporters Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally getting a raise to the same level, marking the first time that they’ve earned the same as McCormack and Messing.
The pay hikes come even as NBC has cut the license fee it pays to production company (and corporate sibling) NBC Universal TV Studio from $5 million per episode to $4 million. It’s no wonder that the network, badly in need of hits, is tightening the purse strings on the aging show, but NBC Universal probably doesn’t mind too much eating that $24 million, since the series will more than make it back when the eighth season is sold into syndication, where the show’s reruns have been lucrative hits. Besides, even with its declining ratings, Will & Grace remains one of NBC’s few comedy hits and a cornerstone of the network’s all-important Thursday night.