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NBC was positive about the project, but there was still some concern that the homosexual subject matter would cause alarm.
Ellen De Generes's sitcom Ellen, which aired on ABC, was canceled the year before Will & Grace premiered because ratings had plummeted after the show became "too gay." Despite the criticism ABC received for De Generes's coming out episode, "The Puppy Episode," Kohan said, "there's no question that show made it easier for Will & Grace to make it on the air." He added: "Will & Grace had a better shot at succeeding where Ellen failed, however, because Will has known about his homosexuality for 20 years.
Will & Grace is set in New York City and focuses on the relationship between Will Truman, a gay lawyer, and his best friend Grace Adler, a Jewish woman who owns an interior design firm.
Also featured are their friends Karen Walker, an alcoholic socialite, and Jack Mc Farland, a flamboyantly gay actor.
Hayes executive produced this season as well as creators/executive producers Max Mutchnick and David Kohan.
Veteran director James Burrows is on board to direct and executive produce.
He's not exploring that awkward territory for the first time, as Ellen did.
The process of self-discovery and the pain most gay men go through is fascinating, but the average American is put off by it." Burrows liked the idea and when he first read the script in November 1997, he decided that he wanted to direct it.
Will & Grace earned 18 Primetime Emmy Awards and 83 nominations.The show was broadcast on NBC from September 21, 1998, to May 18, 2006, for a total of eight seasons, and returned to NBC on September 28, 2017.Will & Grace has been one of the most successful television series with gay principal characters.Mc Cormack said: "When shooting was finished that night, Debra and I were sitting on the couch and looking at each other and I said, 'We're gonna be on this set for a while.' And we sort of clasped hands, but we didn't want to say anything beyond that and jinx it." Having played gay characters several times in his career, Mc Cormack did not have a problem with it and thought his character could become a "poster boy for some gay movement", like De Generes became a spokesperson with her character.Sean Hayes was invited to audition for Jack after a NBC casting executive saw him in a role in the indie gay romance film Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss.