Will & Grace nears renewal
After months of on-and-off negotiations, NBC and the producers of Will & Grace are said to be closing in on an agreement to bring the Emmy-winning sitcom back for another season. Sources said the network is prepared to give the NBC-produced series a full-season order, albeit at a license fee that will be lower than the fees paid this season, estimated to be in the neighborhood of $5 million per episode. The negotiations between NBC and Will & Grace creators-executive producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnick were complicated by the fact that Kohan and Mutchnick have a lawsuit pending against NBC claiming that they were shortchanged in the last license fee negotiations on the show.
Now that the producers and network appear to be on the same page, the next hurdle is cutting new deals with the show's four stars: Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes, and Megan Mullally. Sources said NBC is expected to field a proposal to the actors this week. It's expected that the actors will be asked to take pay cuts as well, given the reduced license fee and the sharp ratings drop that Will & Grace has suffered this season along with the rest of NBC's Thursday slate. Representatives for NBC and the other parties involved declined comment. (Neelie Andreeva and Cynthia Littleton, via Reuters)