Will & Grace's Eric McCormack is in an interesting position these days. He's back on network TV playing a popular gay character, while in his personal life he's a straight man, married to Janet Holden since 1997, just shortly before Will & Grace began airing in 1998. Reflecting on the role, McCormack recently admitted he probably wouldn't even be invited to audition these days. The actor noted in a recent interview that the TV landscape has changed over the past two decades, leading to more diversity in roles. He succinctly said:
There are still some straight actors playing gay characters on television. Eric McCormack is one of them and Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet also comes to mind. However, the TV landscape has been opening up a lot more in recent years for actors from different backgrounds and communities to take on roles.
This year in particular saw broadcast TV incorporate 8.8 percent of its actors as people in the LGBTQ community--that's a higher number than has ever occurred previously.
At the time when Will & Grace was initially broadcast, the show was coming shortly after Ellen DeGeneres' Ellen was cancelled due to low ratings after Ellen's character had come out on her show. (DeGeneres previously revealed she dealt with death threats around that time as well.)
For a major network to even greenlight another show with gay lead characters at the time was a big deal, and Eric McCormack also told the Sydney Morning Herald that because of the times, him nabbing the role when Will & Grace came up wasn't as noteworthy as it would likely be today.
Although Eric McCormack doesn't know how an audition would go for Will & Grace today, the show is back on the air and thriving. NBC brought the series back for the 2017-2018 season and it's done well enough that it has been back for what turns out to be its official 10th season this fall.
You can catch Eric McCormack and the rest of the gang in action on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET, although it is moving into the Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. slot when the show returns to the winter schedule on January 31.
To take a look at when the rest of your favorites will be returning at midseason, be sure to check out our full TV premiere schedule.
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Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.