Partner Benefits

After an acclaimed turn on the stage, Michael Urie returns to series television with Partners, a sharp new comedy from the creators of Will & Grace.



Partners in Crime (clockwise from left) Urie with Brandon Routh, David Krumholtz, and Sophia Bush in the new CBS sitcom Partners.

“Have you seen the poster?” Urie’s face lights up as he grabs his iPhone to scroll in search of the just-posted one-sheet. It shows the series’ four leads squeezed side by side in the back of a New York City cab, with the overline “From the Emmy-Winning Creators of Will & Grace” and the tag “Four Friends. Three Couples.”

Not only is CBS banking on Partners’ association with the groundbreaking Will & Grace, the network’s ad campaign also invokes another iconic, long-running sitcom: Friends. For his part, Urie is thrilled to be on a refreshingly old-fashioned, character-driven sitcom at a time when most comedies are, as he says, “so referential” (see: network TV’s other new gay-themed comedy, The New Normal).

Plus, Urie’s character, based on Max Mutchnick, the gay half of the Will & Grace creative team, was written with him in mind. Or at least that’s what Mutchnick has said. “That’s really nice,” counters Urie as he matter-of-factly swipes a sweet potato fry across a mound of ketchup at a 24-hour diner near his apartment. “I don’t think it’s true, but it was really nice of him to say.”

It’s not actually so far-fetched. Urie had tested for roles in two previous comedies from Mutchnick and David Kohan: the short-lived Twins and the even shorter-lived Four Kings. “I didn’t watch it,” he says of Four Kings, which he had really hoped to land. “I was too bitter.”