NBC sees the future, and it's the past. The network is so pleased with the revival of Will & Grace that with two episodes left to air in the first season, they have expanded the 13-episode second season to 18 and already ordered an 18-episode third season to air in the fall of 2019. This will be the 11th season of the series taking into account the original eight-season run from 1998 to 2006.
This all started because the cast got back together to do a 10-minute election-themed mini-episode in the fall of 2016. The buzz from that led NBC to order a new 10-episode season that was expanded to 12 and finally 16 by the time it debuted. The last two episodes of season 1 are slated to air March 29th and April 5th.
The revival brought back original cast members Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, and Sean Hayes. Along with the original cast came Will & Grace creators/executive producers Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, director/executive producer James Brurrows, and a number of the original series' writers. They've also had quite a few guest stars, including Jennifer Lopez, Alec Baldwin, Minnie Driver, Molly Shannon, and Jane Lynch.
Will & Grace has been performing very well on Thursday night for NBC, averaging a 3.1 adults 19-49 rating and 9.8 million viewers overall in Live+7. It's the network's top-rated comedy and has upped its time slot by 48% over the previous year. The series has also been receiving critical praise and is getting awards consideration — something it did very well in during the original run, winning 16 Emmys.
In the announcement, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said:
As far as I'm concerned, we can't get enough of Will & Grace, and 23 more episodes is music to my ears. We're eternally grateful that Debra, Eric, Sean and Megan feel the same way and wanted to keep this good thing going. I'm overwhelmed by the euphoric response the new show has received from the press and the audience, and my hat is off to the unrivaled writing team of Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, as well as the brilliant directing of Jimmy Burrows, for consistently delivering one of the best shows on television.
The success may have come as a bit of a surprise to the network, as the cast was only under a one-season contract. But Will & Grace seems to have started a flood of revivals, with Roseanne and Murphy Brown moving forward and recent talks of Mad About You following suit.