Jennifer Lopez to Return to 'Will & Grace' — With a Twist

The actress-singer-dancer memorably played herself during the NBC series' original run.
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Jennifer Lopez with the 'Will & Grace' cast during its original run.

Jennifer Lopez is reprising her guest-starring role on Will & Grace, but this time, she won't only be playing herself.

Lopez appeared as her famous self during the NBC series' original run in a guest arc for the double-episode season six finale and seventh season premiere. When performing at Karen's (Megan Mullally) wedding to Lyle Finster (John Cleese), she recruited Jack (Sean Hayes) as a back-up dancer. The world-famous actress-singer-dancer and Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace's (Debra Messing) neighbor then became fast friends. She hired but quickly fired Jack, though they parted on good terms.

In an upcoming episode on the revival series, Lopez will be returning in a dual role as both herself and as her Shades of Blue character, detective Harlee Santos, THR has learned. No episode date has been announced. But Hayes, along with Mullally, shared a photo of Lopez on set.

Seizing the opportunity to have Lopez on a sister NBC series, the crossover gives the pricey but little watched Shades of Blue a big platform. The cop drama has been renewed for a 10-episode third season, but NBC has yet to announce a 2018 premiere date.

Will & Grace's attempt to re-create guest-star magic with Lopez is one of TV's latest crossover examples. The stunt castings, billed as an event, are becoming more common in the era of Peak TV as broadcasters look to cut through the cluttered landscape of offerings in any way possible.

ABC's Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, for example, will be crossing over in Scandal's upcoming final season. Though both series are exec produced by Shonda Rimes, the dramas have always been seen as existing in different worlds. Now, with Murder in its fourth run, the lesser watched Shondaland drama looks to gain steam from Scandal's final bow.

Vanessa Bayer and Cheyenne Jackson will also guest star on an upcoming episode; no date or character details have been announced. The trio of guest star announcement adds more names to a long list of stars who have appeared on the revival, including Harry Connick Jr., Ben Platt, Minnie Driver, Nick Offerman and Leslie Jordan. Bobby Cannavale and Molly Shannon are also set to return.

Will & Grace is currently airing its Golden Globe-nominated 16-episode revival season Thursdays at 9 p.m. and has been renewed for a 13-episode second season. 

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