Will & Grace reunion: How NBC was involved from very beginning
Even before the now-infamous election special was filmed last fall, the Will & Grace producers were having sidebar discussions with NBC about the reunion and what it could mean for, well, everybody.
“We started talking very much in secret to [executive producer] Max Mutchnick, who clued me in on the secret reunion episode that they were making,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt tells EW exclusively. “We didn’t do anything overt until after the episode aired and we saw the reaction. We wanted to see what would come of it. Pretty quickly after it aired and starting garnering all kinds of fan activity, I started saying to him, they look amazing. They look the same. The show is the same. It’s hilarious and insightful. So I asked, what about doing more episodes? So he said, ‘Let me talk to the cast. Let me see what I can do.'”
Once Mutchnick and David Kohan began crafting the new episodes, Greenblatt was immediately on board with the idea of ignoring the series finale from 2006 and starting the new iteration with Will and Grace unmarried and childless. “The finale was a bit of an anomaly, a look into the future. I don’t think you have to pick up from there. We want a classic version of the show. It’s very clever how we sidestep the finale. This is a show that you remember and love. And that finale could happen five years from now. It can still service the show later.”
“These characters are still very vital and alive,” Greenblatt continues. “I’d love to have them in a present day instead fixed in the past. And there is all kinds of modern context that’s really interesting. And the miracle of these four is that they look the same. They sound the same, they have the same chemistry and rhythms, and we’re basically picking up the show you remember from 10 years ago, as opposed to changing the whole thing.”
Does this mean NBC is open to revisiting other classic comedies from its Must-See past? Greenblatt doesn’t want to get ahead of himself. “We think about our classic shows all the time but I think certain elements have to fall into place. The original creator has to be really excited about it. The principal cast has to be excited. There has to be a reason to want to do it, and not just doing it for the sake of stunting. I don’t think you do one of these without the original visionary creator being involved. So I don’t think it will become a trend for us. But if Aaron Sorkin called and wanted to do eight episodes of The West Wing, sold!”