Will & Grace aired their second series finale this week – 14 years after the show’s first finale in 2006 – and officially ended its run with a total of 11 seasons and 246 episodes. However, if star Debra Messing (Grace Adler) wouldn’t have had a specific clause in her contract, things would have been extremely different.
According to series co-creator Max Mutchnick, Messing had a “pain in the a**” contract clause that required they wrap filming on the final season by Christmas 2019. Producers obliged, and the four stars of the show – Messing, Erick McCormack (Will Truman), Megan Mullally (Karen Walker), and Sean Hayes (Jack McFarland) – filmed all 18 of the final episodes before 2020 started.
“Oh my God, thank God. It would have been the most unfinished feeling to not get to the end of this season,” Mutchnick told Entertainment Weekly. “Thank God Debra had it in her contract that we had to be done by Christmas. I finally found the silver lining in that really pain-in-the-ass clause.”
Most of the TV shows on network television had a traditional filming schedule that usually sees them wrapping filming up for a season in March or April. But, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Hollywood shutdown, most shows had to halt production weeks before shooting a season finale.
That forced many shows to end their season with a massive cliffhanger and with storylines not finished.
Mutchnick says that they did run into a little bit of trouble with the retrospective that aired immediately after the finale. He says they weren’t finished with that when everything shut down, and it wasn’t easy to get to the finish line “with the world shut down.”
Mutchnick also spoke about the feud between Messing and Mullally that caused Mullally to miss two episodes during the final season. He said that the show always works under a motto where “everything’s about the work.” Staying true to that, Mutchnick said he would keep the media out of what happened on the set this year.
However, Max Mutchnick did admit that the feud between Debra Messing and Megan Mullally made things difficult during the final season, but the permanent legacy of the show is more important than a “temporary squabble.”