South O’ the Highway

Alec Baldwin, Blythe Danner and Jennifer Lopez Return to ‘Will & Grace’

The momentous Will & Grace comeback season, starring Hamptons regular Debra Messing, is adding more familiar South Fork faces—Water Mill homeowner Jennifer Lopez, and Amagansett residents Alec Baldwin and Blythe Danner—to the show before it concludes its 16-episode revival this year.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Baldwin and Danner are reprising guest roles from previous Will & Grace seasons during the series’ original eight-year run between 1998 and 2006. Both actors earned Emmy nominations for their performances—Baldwin as Karen’s (Megan Mullally) love interest, secret agent Malcolm Widmark, and Danner playing Will’s (Eric McCormack) mother Marilyn Truman.

Last March, Baldwin told Vanity Fair he enjoyed filming Will & Grace so much that it set the stage for him to accept his iconic role as Jack Donaghy on fellow NBC sitcom 30 Rock. He was especially smitten with Mullally, his on-camera girlfriend. “I have always been madly in love with Megan Mullally. Some have compared her to Madeline Kahn, and although I hear some echoes, Megan is such an original in terms of her timing, her warmth, and her mixture of insanity and sexiness,” Baldwin said of the Will & Grace cast member.

He also noted that Mullally helped him understand the requirements and rigors of shooting a weekly, half-hour sitcom—something with which he was not yet wholly familiar. Filming the show, including one of its only live episodes, was like performing in a “mini play,” Baldwin told Vanity Fair. “We were in the theater, playing to an audience, only we taped it, edited it, and ran it on TV to a few million people.”

The actor said he enjoys how television “moves along,” unlike films where much time is spent waiting around the set. “Funny people like Megan, the schedule, directors like Burrows—it all started to add up,” Baldwin continued, explaining how Will & Grace brought him around on the idea of doing television. “Sean Hayes [who plays Will’s best friend Jack McFarland], Eric McCormack, and Debra Messing were welcoming and patient with me.”

Meanwhile, Lopez will again play herself, as she did with great success in seasons 6 and 7. The pop star will also appear as her character from NBC’s Shades of Blue, troubled NYPD detective Harlee Santos. Shades of Blue will return for its third season this year.

NBC revived Will & Grace for its ninth season after an 11-year hiatus, and the show has since garnered excellent ratings and heaps of critical praise. It was nominated for two Golden Globes, including Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy for McCormack, and has already been renewed for 13 episodes in Season 10.

Will & Grace airs on NBC Thursdays at 9 p.m.

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