'Will & Grace' to End With Revival's Third Season (and 11th Overall) on NBC

WILL & GRACE S02E18 Still_ - Publicity - H 2019
Chris Haston/NBC

Will & Grace is saying farewell. Again.

The revived NBC comedy's upcoming third season (and 11th overall) will be its last. The final season, which will consist of another round of 18 episodes, will debut in 2020 on NBC. The decision was, as the creators explain in the quotes below, a creative one between themselves and the cast decision.

"When NBC had the opportunity to reconnect this amazing cast and creative team, we jumped at the chance. The impact and legacy of Will & Grace simply can’t be overstated, both as a true game-changer in the portrayal of the LGBTQ community and as one of the finest comedies in television history," NBC Entertainment co-chairmen George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy said Thursday in a statement. "A huge thank you to [creators] Max [Mutchnick], David [Kohan], Jimmy [Burrows] and a cast that is second to none for their brilliance over an incredible run."

The news arrives as the beloved multicamera comedy from Universal TV lost nearly half its viewers among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic last season. The cast also scored sizable raises (from $250,000 per episode for the first season of the return to $350,000 per for the revival). NBC is said to be paying $2 million an episode for the show.  

Still, the revived show featuring original stars Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally reprising their award-winning roles should be considered a victory. The revival originally started when the show's entire creative team reunited for a short video meant to promote Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. At the time, the stars expressed their excitement about a potential reunion and talks quickly began with NBC.

The revival was originally picked up as a short-order limited series but became something more as the network added additional episodes and renewed the revival for a second season (and 10th overall) before its premiere. The revival has also helped monetize the Will & Grace library, which sold to Hulu in a massive SVOD deal with the now-Disney-owned streamer beating out Netflix for the library.

“We think of the Will & Grace reboot episodes the way Karen Walker thinks of martinis — 51 is not enough, 53 is too many. That is why, after consulting with the cast, we all have decided this will be the final season of Will & Grace," creators Mutchnick, Kohan and exec producer/director Burrows said. “In 2016, Bob Greenblatt came to us with the idea of doing a 10-episode reboot of Will & Grace. They say you can’t go home again, but we did. And now, three seasons and 52 episodes later, we’re even more proud of something we never thought we’d get a chance to do again. We have had a once-in-a-lifetime experience twice. And for that, we owe a double debt of gratitude to NBC, this show's supportive and caring home since day one."

Will & Grace heads into its final season having already collected 30 Golden Globe noms; seven GLAAD wins for comedy series; and seven DGA noms and one win for Burrows. Much of the comedy's memorabilia, including scripts, casting notes and props, are part of a gay rights exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington.

Will & Grace is the latest broadcast series to announce that it will end during the upcoming 2019-2020 broadcast season. It joins NBC's The Good Place and Blindspot; ABC's Agents of SHIELD, Modern Family and How to Get Away With Murder; CBS' Criminal Minds and Madam Secretary; The CW's Arrow and Supernatural; and Fox's Empire.

Ending the series puts increased pressure on NBC to launch a new half-hour comedy next season as the network is set to part ways with its other awards player, The Good Place. NBC's comedy lineup includes Superstore, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and rookies Indebted, The Kenan Show, Perfect Harmony and Sunnyside.