Will & Grace becomes "Must Keep TV"
NBC will pay more than $300 million to keep Will & Grace for three more seasons, reports Variety. The network will pay in-house producer NBC Studios a license fee of about $4 million per episode to keep the show on the air through May 2005, the end of the show's seventh season. That compares with a current license fee of about $1 million per episode. The new deal makes Will & Grace the network's fourth-most expensive series, behind ER (about $8 million), Friends ($6 million), and Frasier ($5.2 million). It is thought that the imminent departure of Friends at the end of the 2002-2003 season put NBC on the hunt for a "sitcom security blanket."
"Will & Grace has been the biggest comedy hit of the last four years," said NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker. "And in this year when it's faced intense competition, it remains the second-highest-rated comedy [in demographics]. The show is just hitting its stride."