It's a good time to be a fan of NBC's acclaimed sitcom Will and Grace. Because nostalgia is proving to be one of the most profitable trends in TV and film production, there are tons of reboots and revivals currently being released. The new season of Will and Grace is one of the most anticipated of these revivals, and NBC has already ordered a second season before the first episode even premiers this fall. But it turns out that die hard fans of the sitcom will have a reason to be disappointed, as actress Shelley Morrison will not be returning to her iconic role as Karen's maid and life companion Rosario Salazar.
While this news is sure to be disheartening, it turns out that the decision didn't come from NBC or the folks working at Will and Grace. The choice was made by Shelley Morrison herself, who is currently in her 80's, and would rather retire from her long career of acting. Will and Grace creator Max Mutchnick addressed Morrison's absence from the new episodes at the TCA press tour (via THR), saying:
Shelley has decided to retire. It was with a heavy heart that she gave us that information and that we received it, but it is the way that it goes. It is a choice that she has made. We really wanted Shelley to be a part of this series, so we find ourselves having to figure that out moving forward. It was not an easy decision to make, but it's one that she made.
What. A. Bummer. Rosario was the biggest character outside of the four leads, and her absence will surely be felt when Will and Grace return to the small screen this fall.
While Rosario started off as an occasional guest star in Will and Grace, she quickly became a series staple. Karen was consistently verbally abusive to poor Rosie, often insulting her impeccable English as if there was a language barrier between the two. Conversely, Rosario was just about the only character who could clap back to Karen, often calling her out on her substance abuse and heartless attitude. Rosario and Jack also had their own special relationship; the two became close during a faux marriage to ensure that she wasn't deported back to El Salvador, and they would remain tight throughout the show's run.
It should be interesting to see how Rosario's absence is explained when Will and Grace returns this fall. It's unclear how Karen could actually survive without Rosario to take care of her, although perhaps she'll bring on a new maid to torture a la Emily in Gilmore Girls.
Shelley Morrison isn't the only Will and Grace cast member who won't be returning for the upcoming seasons. Debbie Reynolds' absence will no doubt be felt as well, since she played Grace's mother in ten episodes across various seasons. It's currently unclear if Bobby Cannavale will reprise his role as Will's love interest Vince.
Will and Grace will return to NBC on September 28, 2017. In the meantime, check out our fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch.