8:30am PT by Jackie Strause
'Will & Grace' Raises $1M for Charity by Raffling Off Tickets to Tapings
Season two of the Will & Grace revival has been on the air only since Oct. 4, but already the NBC revival has hit the $1 million mark with an innovative charity scheme.
"That is amazing to me, it really is,” co-creator David Kohan tells The Hollywood Reporter of the milestone.
The campaign, founded in 2017 by Kohan, co-creator Max Mutchnick and ex-NBC chief Bob Greenblatt, gives tickets for live tapings to charities to auction off. The idea was to pair a charity component alongside the making of the sitcom, which returned after 10 years off the air in 2017. The initiative began with 25 charities.
Now there are nearly 100 participants, including Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and Troops First.
“It’s something that we came to [when bringing the show back] because it’s just who we have become as people in the years that we were off the air,” Mutchnick explains of auctioning seats, plus the chance to meet the starring foursome of Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally after the taping.
"They are all philanthropic people. They’re the ones who take the time after and do the photos. It’s a part of the evening and they do it very graciously. They feel honored," says Kohan.
The moment that the creators realized they had a solid idea on their hands was after the first revival season was announced. McCormack was approached by his son's school about getting two tickets to use for a silent auction and those tickets went for $25,000.
"You realize how lucky you are when you’re in the position to have a show like this," Mutchnick adds of being able to both come back and give back. "It’s something that we’re proud of, but it’s also something that we shouldn’t be too proud of because it’s what we should be doing."
The sitcom, which films before a live audience, is now more than halfway through filming the 18-episode second season and has been renewed for a third. And while Kohan and Mutchnick say they aren’t in the business of pushing their model on other sets, Mutchnick does have this message to share: “If you can raise money through your work, then you should. Everybody should raise money for people who need it.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.