TV is in a sitcom slump these days, and Will & Grace’s Sean Hayes wants to fix it. As a producer of Bravo’s Situation: Comedy, he helped select five aspiring sitcom writers to compete for $25,000, a high-powered agent and the possibility of his/her sitcom making it to the small screen. We asked Hayes — who calls Joey a "very good show" — about trying to find the next great American laffer.
TVGuide.com: So this is Project Greenlight for TV.
Sean Hayes: The execution is quite different, but the idea is similar. You actually get to see our two [finalists’] shows at the end of the series instead of trying to find Stolen Summer at your local multiplex.
TVGuide.com: Will we see you and [producing partner] Todd Milliner as tough, Simon-like judges?
Hayes: We’re not judges! [Chuckles] We’ve got to make sure that you say this because [a major newspaper] printed that we’re hosting the show. All we did was come up with the idea and produce it.
TVGuide.com: Viewers pick the winner, but who decides if the winner’s show gets picked up?
Hayes: It’s ultimately up to NBC. The funny part was they said, "Well, what if America’s wrong?" And I said, "About what? What they just told you they want to see?" That’s the network for you.
TVGuide.com: Will & Grace lost 6 million viewers last season. Why do you think your ratings are down?
Hayes: I believe, creatively, [we’ve] slipped a little bit. The people who created the show are in a very public lawsuit with the network [over financial deals]. And it’s kind of like when Mom and Dad are away, this is what happens to a show. And also, [moving us] to 8:30 behind [Joey], an unproven but very good show, will affect ratings.
TVGuide.com: On the bright side, you and Megan Mullally are now being compensated on par with your other two costars.
Hayes: I’m just glad to be a working actor.
TVGuide.com: You have the luxury of not having to worry so much about how to pay the bills…Hayes:
Well, sure, I have some of those [concerns], but yeah.
TVGuide.com: …so producing this show on Bravo is really more about a creative stretch for you, yes?
Hayes: The one major thing that drew me to work on Situation: Comedy was to give back. The No. 1 priority for me is to give actors, writers and directors who don’t otherwise have the access to open Hollywood’s doors [and get] the opportunity to work.
TVGuide.com: Any other pipe dreams or goals for the future that you want to pursue as Will & Grace draws closer to the end of its run?
Hayes: I have many, many dreams. What are your dreams?
TVGuide.com: I dream of getting safely to the end of this work day, Sean.
Hayes: My dreams are simple. I just want world peace.
Situation: Comedy debuts tonight at 8 pm/ET on Bravo.