EXCLUSIVE: Will & Grace are heading back to the UK after Viacom-owned broadcaster Channel 5 picked up the rebooted comedy. I hear that the commercial broadcaster will air the Debra Messing-fronted ninth series, which launched on NBC earlier this fall, in January, in between episodes of Celebrity Big Brother.
It is the latest high-profile US acquisition for Channel 5, which last year picked up The X-Files reboot, which became one of the broadcaster’s highest rated show of the year with over 5m consolidated viewers. The deal was struck by Katie Keenan, Head of Acquisitions at Channel 5 and Viacom International Media Networks UK. In the UK, the original run of Will & Grace aired on C5’s rival Channel 4.
The current ninth season of Will & Grace, which aired its fall season finale last week, reunites original stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes. Shepherding the new episodes are Will & Grace creators/executive producers Max Mutchnick and David Kohan as well as director/executive producer James Burrows.
The ninth series was already expanded for a 16 episode run and NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt revealed at TCA that it has already been picked up a 13-episode tenth season.
Will & Grace, which aired from 1998-2006 as one of the last tentpoles of NBC’s once-venerable Must See TV comedy lineup, has a great legacy; in addition to winning 16 Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 2000, it is credited with paving the way for LGBT characters on TV, featuring the first openly gay lead characters on a primetime U.S network series.