Perhaps you’ve heard: “Will & Grace” returns to TV Thursday night.

Eleven years and change since the show departed NBC after an eight-season run, it starts again on the network. The revival has received a large amount of hype, and NBC has already picked up a second season of the new run.

The big unanswered question — at least until Friday morning — is whether viewers will return as well.

“Will & Grace” was an unabashed hit in its initial run: It ranked in the top 20 for four of its eight seasons, peaking in 2000-01 when it joined NBC’s Thursday lineup.

As NBC’s fortunes took a downturn in the mid-’00s, however, so did “Will & Grace’s.” Its adults 18-49 ratings fell from 7.8 for its sixth season (2003-04) to 5.0 in Season 7 and 3.9 in Season 8. The final season averaged 9.26 million viewers (including the finale, which brought in better than 18 million people).

So, where to set expectations for the return? Given the hype and the fact that it’s a known quantity, it’s reasonable to expect a good-sized premiere. “W&G” will have to do most of the work on its own, however, as lead-ins “Superstore” and “The Good Place” are likely to land in the low 1s in the 18-49 demographic.

Reaching the 3.9 average for its final season might be a stretch, but three other shows (“The Big Bang Theory,” “Young Sheldon” and “This Is Us”) have hit that mark or better during premiere week. “The X-Files” revival (with a big assist from an NFL playoff game) debuted to a 6.1 in January 2016, then tailed off. It averaged 3.2 for its six-episode run.

Cast your vote for where you think the “Will & Grace” premiere will land in the ratings. We’ll find out how it does when the numbers come out Friday morning.


Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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