By William Keck
Updated September 20, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

Look for Eric McCormack and ’80s dancing machine Kevin Bacon to cut a rug on Oct. 3’s Will & Grace. ”We’ve had a running joke for years that [Sean Hayes’] Jack is stalking Kevin Bacon,” explains McCormack. ”So I think Kevin phoned and said, ‘Can I play myself or do you have other casting ideas?”’ Actually, the actor agreed to appear on the NBC sitcom as a favor to director James Burrows, a longtime pal. Playing himself on the show, Bacon hires Jack to be his personal assistant. His first assignment? To chase down the identity of Bacon’s stalker. Yes, there are references to the ”Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game. And McCormack and Bacon do a little fancy footwork in a Footloose-inspired bit. ”The bastards wanted to hire a dance double,” laughs Bacon, 44. ”But Eric stood up for me. He said, ‘I think the old boy can still do it.’ I mean, I’m no John Travolta, but when am I going to get a little respect? It’s lucky I don’t embarrass easily.” Let’s hear it for the boy.