Sean Hayes discusses return to NBC comedyPosted on October 2, 2013 | by Bob Teoh
Widely known for his hilarious portrayal of the flamboyant Jack McFarland in the iconic sitcom “Will & Grace,” Sean Hayes returns to NBC on Oct. 3 with the premiere of his new sitcom, “Sean Saves the World.”
Hayes has been acting and producing for film, television and Broadway since “Grace” ended in 2006. But “World” marks his first return to a regular TV role. In the new sitcom, Hayes plays a divorced dad who struggles to balance work and family when his teenage daughter moves in full time. Sean is determined to raise the perfect family, but with his pushy mom and difficult boss, both facets of his life pose major challenges.
“When I met with [series creator] Victor Fresco, we were tossing around ideas and we landed on this, and I was like, ‘I’ve never seen that character on TV before, a single gay dad raising a family,’” Hayes said in a conference call with WSN. “Television is all about characters and relationships you haven’t seen, and I thought this would be interesting.”
Fresco and Hayes decided on the eye-catching title.
“It reflects the irony of my character thinking the weight of the world, quite literally, was on my shoulders,” he said.
Although his character is a gay man, Hayes said he believes sexuality is far from the main focus of the show.
“It’s definitely not in the forefront of our minds when creating this show week-to-week,” Hayes said. “It’s making people laugh and telling great stories.”
Instead, Hayes hopes audiences will connect with Sean not for being gay, but for being a single dad struggling to raise a family.
“On a day-to-day level, society deals with these kinds of issues, but they’re within my daughter’s life, and my life, and our life together, as well as outside of it,” he said.
Hayes lauded newcomer Samantha Isler, who plays Sean’s daughter.
“She is so unbelievably talented and her instincts are huge,” Hayes said. “She didn’t seem like a Hollywood young actress. She seemed like a very, very real person.”
Hayes will also be sharing the sitcom stage with veteran actress Linda Lavin, who is well known for starring in classic comedy “Alice,” as well as numerous Broadway productions. Hayes expressed excitement over working on the show with someone who has such an illustrious career.
“Linda Lavin is someone you could give literally any line to and she would get a huge laugh,” Hayes said. “We’ve got a lot of theater folks on the show, which I think is a huge factor in cultivating a hit sitcom. Sitcoms are multi-cams, which are the [closest] things related to theater.”
With an impressive cast and unique premise, it seems as though Hayes and his co-stars are part of a winning formula. Audiences will be able to see for themselves if the strong cast is enough to save the world of NBC comedies after the first episode.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 2 print edition. Bob Teoh is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.