In sounds-about-white news, Will & Grace stars Eric McCormack and Sean Hayes shared details about the early days of the hit NBC sitcom during the premiere episode of their new podcast, Just Jack & Will. McCormack disclosed that the show’s core cast was almost composed of five main characters instead of the iconic fab four that fans have come to know and love.
During the podcast episode, McCormack reminisced about shooting the pilot episode back in 1998, recalling that the original cast included Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, and the talented Cress Williams, known for his later roles in ER and as the lead in CW’s Black Lightning.
“There were five characters as regulars,” says McCormack. “And the fifth was my partner at my small law firm.” Describing the character as a “straight guy” who was “probably written as Jewish” initially, McCormack goes on to explain that Will’s friendship with Williams’ character was meant to be “just as important” as his friendship with Messing’s Grace and Hayes’ Jack.
However, a few days into shooting the pilot, director James Burrows voiced concerns to the show’s creators, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, that the ensemble might be too crowded with five regular characters.
“I felt so terrible,” says McCormack. “It was nothing he did or didn’t do… It just didn’t fit what the show is supposed to be.”
Although the decision to remove Williams from the cast was undoubtedly disappointing, the actor went on to find success in other television projects, notably as a series regular on NBC’s acclaimed medical drama, ER. More recently, he gained recognition for his portrayal of the titular superhero in the popular CW series, Black Lightning.
“Will & Grace” is a popular American sitcom that originally aired from 1998 to 2006 and was later revived for a three-season run from 2017 to 2020. Created by David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, the series revolves around the lives of two best friends, Will Truman (played by Eric McCormack), a gay lawyer, and Grace Adler (played by Debra Messing), a straight interior designer, who live together in New York City.
Throughout its original run, “Will & Grace” won numerous awards, including 16 Primetime Emmy Awards and 18 Screen Actors Guild Awards. It was also recognized for its cultural impact, as it played a significant role in shaping public opinion on LGBTQ+ rights. The show’s success paved the way for other LGBTQ+-themed series and contributed to the growing acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals in mainstream media.
After an 11-year hiatus, “Will & Grace” returned to television screens in 2017 with a revival series. The revival picked up the story years after the original series finale, maintaining the same beloved characters and witty humor that made the show a success. The revival was well-received by fans and critics alike and provided closure to the characters’ storylines.
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