Will & Grace is returning to NBC ... sort of. The better half of Will & Grace is returning to NBC — aka Just Jack ... minus Karen.
Sean Hayes comes back to the network that made him a household name in his new comedy Sean Saves the World. In the multi-camera sitcom, Hayes stars as a divorced gay dad juggling his demanding career, offbeat employees, pushy mom Lorna (Linda Lavin) and weekends with his teenage daughter, Ellie (Sami Isler). But when Ellie moves in full-time, Sean becomes determined to be the best dad in the world.
Hayes' flamboyantly optimistic and sometimes fumbling character, the big city setting and even the comedy style of Sean recalls the heyday of Will & Grace, which was a critically acclaimed darling that earned 16 Emmy awards, including one for Hayes in the supporting actor in a comedy category. Hayes and executive producer Victor Fresco noted that the groundbreaking comedy paved the way for shows like Sean.
"Of course it was impactful, but to say that being on it, I don't want to sound egotistical," Hayes said at NBC's Television Critics Association's fall TV previews on Saturday. "I would like to believe that it had a big influence on the gay movement in America."
Will & Grace has been wildly lauded for helping the LGBT community gain acceptance across America. Even Vice President Joe Biden credited the NBC series with changing the public's opinion. "That show allowed shows like this to happen," Fresco added. "And a show like this, which I think of as a post-gay show — in that there is a gay man at the center of it, but it's not about being gay — without Will & Grace, we wouldn't be here now."
But Hayes hopes for a day when having a homosexual lead won't be the most interesting thing about a series. "Thankfully, it's an afterthought, just like any other character of minority right now, which is how it should be," he said. "It's even sad that's a question, really."
Sean Saves the World premieres Thursday, Oct. 3 at 9/8c on NBC.