Sorry, husbands and kids of Will Truman and Grace Adler: There will be no place for you in the new version of Will & Grace.
EW has learned exclusively that when the comedy returns Sept. 28 to NBC, Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) will be single, childless, and still living in their infamous New York City apartment — a stark contrast to the sitcom’s 2006 finale, when Grace had a daughter named Laila with husband Leo (Harry Connick Jr.) while Will was raising a son, Ben, with spouse Vincent (Bobby Cannavale).
“We spent most of our time trying to figure out what would be the way to make the show the best version of itself coming back after 11 years,” executive producer/creator Max Mutchnick tells EW. “That finale really caused us a lot of grief. You write a finale because a show is over. You never think that it’s coming back again.”
“When the decision was made to bring the series back, we were like, well, we left them with kids, right?” adds executive producer/creator David Kohan. “And if they have children, then it has to be about them being parents, ‘cause presumably it would be a priority in their lives. And if it wasn’t a priority in their lives, then they’re still parents, they’re just bad parents, right? We frankly did not want to see them being either good parents or bad parents. We wanted them to be Will and Grace.”
It will be Groundhog Day, too, for Jack (Sean Hayes) and Karen (Megan Mullally). Though they were last seen living together with Rosario the maid in the finale, Jack will return as Will and Grace’s omnipresent neighbor while Karen will still get her drink on and live in that mansion. Will and Grace’s careers will be the same, and Jack the actor will be teaching his own craft called “Jackting.”
“They’ve done well with their lives,” says Mutchnick of Will’s job as a corporate lawyer and Grace’s gig as an interior designer. “They’ve always been successful at life and living. It’s relationships that Will and Grace have always had the trouble with, and they still do.”
At least one ex-lover isn’t totally history: EW has learned that Connick will briefly reprise his role as Leo in the new iteration.
And good news for those who loved the bawdy humor of Mutchnick and Kohan — it hasn’t gone anywhere since the sitcom wrapped its eight-year run. “I think 11 more years of life has done a fantastic job,” says Mutchnick. “That stew tastes even better. But, you know, we hope that the audience understands that we are here to make them laugh and have a good time.”
For more about the revival of Will & Grace, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday.