David Kohan and Max Mutchnick Interview: ‘Will & Grace’ creators
“Will & Grace” co-creator Max Mutchnick admits he and David Kohan had no idea there was such a high demand for the series to return. “We’ve written it small, and we’ve thought of it small,” says Mutchnick, “and maybe that’s been the thing that’s worked for us because we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.” The NBC sitcom starring Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, and Megan Mullally originally ran from 1998-2006, and it returned in 2017 after 11 years for what was initially supposed to be a 10-episode run. That morphed into a 16-episode season, and then a second- and third-season renewal. Watch our exclusive video interview with Mutchnick and Kohan above.
You might think reuniting the cast after more than a decade apart would be a challenge, but “they really picked up where they left off,” Kohan explains. “It had the strange effects of compressing time, because it did not feel like 11 years had elapsed at all.” It certainly helped that they were working on the original set with most of the original crew, including series director James Burrows. “It really felt like we were just continuing, like we had taken a long hiatus. It really felt that natural and that familiar.”
During its original eight-season run “Will & Grace” won 16 Emmys out of 83 nominations, including Best Comedy Series in 2000, which went to Kohan, Mutchnick and the rest of the producing team. All four series regulars took home individual acting prizes as well: McCormack (Best Comedy Actor, 2001), Messing (Best Comedy Actress, 2003), Hayes (Best Comedy Supporting Actor, 2000) and Mullally (Best Comedy Supporting Actress, 2000, 2006). When Messing picked up her trophy in 2003 the series joined the elite ranks of “All in the Family” and “The Golden Girls” as the only shows to win Emmys for all of its main cast members.
The revival of “Will & Grace” has already proved popular with awards voters, reaping Golden Globe nominations for Best TV Comedy Series and Best TV Comedy Actor (McCormack), as well as SAG and Critics’ Choice bids for Hayes. The show also won the WGA prize for Best Episodic Comedy Writing for the episode “Rosario’s Quinceanera” (written by Tracy Poust and Jon Kinnally), which made it the first multi-cam sitcom to receive that honor since “Frasier” in 2003 (for the episode “No Sex, Please, We’re Skittish” by Bob Daily). Will the resilient “Will & Grace” recapture its former Emmy glory next?