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NBC was positive about the project, but there was still some concern that the homosexual subject matter would cause alarm.
Ellen De Generes's sitcom Ellen, which aired on ABC, was canceled the year before Will & Grace premiered because ratings had plummeted after the show became "too gay." Despite the criticism ABC received for De Generes's coming out episode, "The Puppy Episode," Kohan said, "there's no question that show made it easier for Will & Grace to make it on the air." He added: "Will & Grace had a better shot at succeeding where Ellen failed, however, because Will has known about his homosexuality for 20 years.
Each main actor received an Emmy Award throughout the series.
In 2014 the Writers Guild of America placed the sitcom at number 94 in their list of the 101 best-written TV series of all time.
Mutchnick, who is openly gay, met Eisenberg while rehearsing a play at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, California, at age of 13.
Creators of Will & Grace and real-life friends Max Mutchnick and David Kohan modeled the show after Mutchnick's relationship with childhood friend Janet Eisenberg, a New York City voice-over casting agent.The show was the highest-rated sitcom among adults 18–49 from 2001 to 2005.Will & Grace earned 18 Primetime Emmy Awards and 83 nominations.Since the final episode of the 1998–2006 run aired, the sitcom has been credited with helping and improving public opinion of the LGBT community, with former U. Vice President Joe Biden commenting that the show "probably did more to educate the American public" on LGBT issues "than almost anything anybody has ever done so far".In 2014, the Smithsonian Institution added an LGBT history collection to their museum which included items from Will & Grace.
The curator Dwight Blocker Bowers stated that the sitcom used "comedy to familiarize a mainstream audience with gay culture" in a way that was "daring and broke ground" in American media.