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September’s Will & Grace election-themed reunion apparently served as a big wake-up call for NBC.
The network is in talks to reboot the Emmy-winning comedy starring Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The goal, sources say, is to do a 10-episode limited series revival.
No deals are in place with the four key stars or with creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, the latter of whom had the idea to do the September election-themed TV revival. Universal Television, which produced the original series, would have to secure the stars as well as the creators. It’s unclear if NBC would air the revival or if the network could get outbid for what is sure to be a pricey series by a streaming giant like deep-pocketed Netflix.
NBC and Universal Television declined comment. Insiders caution it’s extremely early in the talks, and it’s unclear if a Will & Grace revival could actually happen.
Will & Grace ran for eight seasons and scored 16 Emmy wins out of 83 nominations. All four stars took home Emmy gold for the show about a single woman, her gay roommate and their eccentric friends. In its heyday, the stars earned $600,000 per episode to do the series — on top of points on the back-end. The show remains a hit in syndication. (The series does not have a streaming home.)
In an interview after the election-themed video was released, both Messing — who has a long-standing friendship with NBC boss Bob Greenblatt, dating back to Smash and The Mysteries of Laura — told THR that she would “never say never” about a revival.
“Now there are platforms where you can do six or 10 episodes. I don’t believe we would ever come back to network [TV] again,” the actress said in comments that may signal a streaming home for the project. “I think that the logistics of all of our lives — there would just be way too many things to hammer out. But for something shorter-lived and maybe having the limitations of being on network TV lifted may give us a fun, fresh opportunity because we could be really, really naughty!”
For his part, McCormack said there was no official talk of a revival during the two days it took to film the reunion video, though he seemed open to it.
“As for the future, everyone — from Max and David on down — is so protective of the show and how we ended it,” he said. “We’re very proud of the series finale and the story that told of the break that friendships sometimes take. So to play with that and change that story and change our own stories in life, I’m sure we would all be open to talking about it.”
The reunion was Mutchnick’s idea. The sets were stored at Emerson College in Boston, where they had been housed for the past 10 years but needed to be moved. He transported the sets to the show’s original studio and had them reassembled. James Burrows, who directed every episode of the series, returned to helm the viral video that now has more than 6 million views.
Reboots continue to remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming outlets look for proven IP in a bid to cut through a cluttered scripted landscape that is quickly approaching 500 original series. Key to the remakes is having the original producers involved in some capacity as more studios look to monetize their existing film libraries. Netflix, for its part, has the highly anticipated Gilmore Girls revival due in November and has already revived series such as Full House, Arrested Development and even the film Wet Hot American Summer. For NBC’s part, the network last season rebooted Heroes — with a largely new cast and some returning favorites — that crashed and burned.
Already in the works this season are reboots of Sneakers (NBC), Enemy of the State (ABC), Dynasty (The CW), War of the Worlds (MTV), Magnum P.I. (ABC), The Lost Boys (The CW), Varsity Blues (CMT), The Departed (Amazon), Let the Right One In (TNT) and L.A. Law, though the latter does not yet have a network attached.
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