Entertainment

Will & Grace revival set for NBC's 2017-18 lineup

In TV, everything old can be new again, as NBC is officially reviving the influential hit comedy Will & Grace. The network's first new series order for the 2017-18 broadcast season is a show that debuted about 20 years earlier.

Creators, original stars all set to return, including Toronto-born Eric McCormack

Original Will & Grace stars, from left, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes, Debra Messing and Megan Mullally, are reuniting to revive the popular sitcom. (Reed Saxon/Associated Press)

In TV, everything old can be new again, as NBC is officially reviving the influential hit comedy Will & Grace.

The network's first new series order for the 2017-18 broadcast season is a show that premiered almost 20 years earlier. 

All four original leads — Toronto-born actor Eric McCormack and Americans Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally — will return for a new 10-episode season, the network announced Wednesday during the Television Critics Association's winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

"We're thrilled that one of the smartest, funniest and most defining comedies in NBC history is coming back," NBC Entertainment chair Robert Greenblatt said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"This groundbreaking series for everything from gay rights to social and political commentary — all disguised as a high-speed train of witty pop culture — is coming back where it belongs."

Debuting in 1998, Will & Grace revolved around a pair of best friends — a gay man and straight woman — living as roommates in New York. The popular, fast-paced sitcom, bolstered by colourful supporting characters, ran for eight seasons and earned 16 Emmy Awards (including awards for each of the four stars).

The show has been lauded, including by U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, as a trailblazing piece of pop culture that helped dispel misconceptions about the LGBT community and educate the American public about gay rights.

Rumours of a revival came after the principals created a well-received (and ultimately viral) video of McCormack, Messing, Hayes and Mullally reprising their Will & Grace characters to urge Americans to vote during last fall's U.S. election campaign. 

Max Mutchnick, who co-created Will & Grace with David Kohan, and TV veteran James Burrows, who directed the series, are also back for the revival.

Not unlike Hollywood film practice, a host of past hits have been or are being revived for TV and streaming services in recent years, including Beverly Hills, 90210Dallas, The X-FilesFuller House, Gilmore Girls, 24, Prison Break and Magnum P.I.

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