WILL & GRACE: Every Episode, Every Rating of the Revival

All good things must come to an end, again.  A trailblazer sitcom with predominant LGBTQ themes, Will & Grace enjoyed a hearty run from 1998-2006, ending in a bittersweet finale.  11 years later, lightning struck twice and not only had the sour developments been undone, but Will & Grace returned to NBC's Must-See-TV block on Thursdays in 2017.  Initially burning bright, Will & Grace's revival was handed multi-seasonal renewals.  Outside 2017, its ratings glory faded fast and resembled the plagued ratings of its neighboring sitcoms.  However, an additional 52 episodes featuring the principle quartet performed well enough for NBC's standards.  The table below profiles every episode of the revival's ratings.

Unfortunately, Live 18-48 adult demo ratings for seasons 1-8 is more obscure data to locate.  However, feel free to scroll for Will & Grace's seasonal ranks from 1998-2006 in TVRG's Ratings History Library.

Will & Grace's 9th season revival not only grabbed headlines, but was one of the first revivals to be tracked on broadcast network television with ratings on display.  The 3.0 debut on September 28, 2017 electrified the lineup, only outperformed that month by The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.  The following episode dropped a full point to 2.0, still monstrous standards for a season rife with declines.  It appeared that fall Will & Grace plateaued between 1.6-1.8.  However, the 2018 calendar year caused erosion.  NBC's poor scheduling and attempts to exploit W&G's high ratings throughout the season damaged season 9 with the 0.9 finale being a 70% drop from the glorious return.  Thursday Night Football and the Winter Olympics indeed disrupted viewing patterns, but it trisected the season into three batches with the last dipping into fractional territory.

Season 10 showed continual declines hovering between 0.6-1.0, though the scheduling tightened.  With 18 episodes ordered, it matched Brooklyn Nine-Nine's episode order, which they compiled from January-May.  Aside for the winter break from December 6, 2018-January 31, 2019, NBC wisely compacted W&G's scheduling with an uninterrupted run.  Following declaring the 11th season would be the second final season in July 2019, NBC opted to schedule Will & Grace mid-season.  However, freshman pilot Sunnyside flamed out in the 9:30 timeslot and was pulled after 4 episodes.  To compensate for a loss of programming, they jumpstarted Will & Grace on October 24, 2019 in the 9:30 timeslot.  W&G returned to a new low at 0.5, ticking up to 0.6, then delivering ratings between 0.4-0.5 all throughout the winter.  The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in windfalls of ratings upticks in March 2020, and W&G rose to a 0.7 for the March 19 showing.  However, a three-week break again caused these gains to slide back to 0.6.

Will & Grace and fellow revival Roseanne/The Conners followed nearly identical trajectories after their colossal debuts.  Both dropped massively following premiere nights and settled into lower trends with mirrored their neighboring sitcoms.  However, The Conners held a slightly higher retention.  At the 40th episodes (episode 235 for the W&G revival), The Conners resides at 17% retention of the debut (0.9 series low vs. 5.2 revival debut), while W&G has a 13% retention (0.4 series low vs. 3.0  revival debut).  Will & Grace and Roseanne/The Conners stand as examples for the revival model and show phenomenal debuts can be fleeting.  Lousy scheduling and overplayed premises cause viewers to flee, so revive accordingly.  Either way, fans of Will & Grace were able to enjoy 52 more episodes over 3 seasons.

Check out the EVERY EPISODE, EVERY RATING LIBRARY to see other shows profiled.


1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_%26_Grace_(season_9)
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_%26_Grace_(season_10)
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_%26_Grace_(season_11)

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