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'Will & Grace' cast and creators reveal the secret behind the show's revival

It's been more than a decade since "Will & Grace" went off the air, but it didnt' take very long to bring it back.
/ Source: TODAY

It's been more than a decade since "Will & Grace" went off the air, but it didn't take very long to bring it back.

The show returns for its highly anticipated revival run this week, and the cast and creators stopped by Megyn Kelly TODAY to tell the host the whirlwind story of how it happened.

It all started with show co-runner Max Mutchnick, who happens to be the inspiration behind leading man Will.

"I was in London with my husband, and we were talking about the election, and I thought of a joke that I would have loved to have written for the show if it were still around," he explained.

The setup was simple and perfect for a couple of the characters.

"I wanted Karen to be working (her maid) Rosario out at a rock-climbing wall to make sure she got back (into the country and) to work in time," Mutchinick said.

It might have ended right there, as little more than a passing thought, had it not been for his husband, Erik Hyman.

"Erik said, 'The set is in our storage, and you could probably put the set up and call your friends and see if they would be interested,'" he recalled. "And I did."

It took 45 minutes for him to get his answer from stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally (Will, Grace, Jack and Karen, respectively) — a unanimous round of yeses.

But what they said yes to, at first, was just a 10-minute election-themed bit. One year later, it's a full-blown series with a second season already a go.

"It was shocking," Messing said of the fast-paced jump from skit to limited season to complete revival. "The idea was we're going to do this very special 10 (episodes), then all the sudden it was like two more. 'Oh, you know, we want you for four more,' and 'We want next year too.' It was like, 'Oh, my God! This is happening.' I mean, we hadn't even shot anything. This was all because the president of the network heard our table read of the first episode."

As for McCormack, he's looking forward to wowing the audience that same way — or offending them. Or both.

"If there's an episode that doesn't offend anyone at all, then we're being a bit safe," he said. "There's got to be somebody who's aggravated."

If it's anything like the beloved original run, it's sure to bring out a wide variety of feelings — including, for some, a feeling thankfulness about the representation of gay characters in prime time.

"The biggest reward of the whole thing is getting positive feedback from gay people all over the world, saying, 'Because of your show, you made it OK for me to be me,'" Hayes added.

See the return of "Will & Grace" for yourself this Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.