Sean Hayes is headed back to the small screen — and to NBC — in Fall's Sean Saves the World. The show has him playing a gay single dad to a teenage daughter, but don't expect too much focus on his character's orientation. Hayes — along with castmates Megan Hilty, Thomas Lennon, Linda Lavin, and Samantha Isler and the show's producers — spilled about the upcoming show during its Summer TCA panel and how its existence is partly owed to Hayes previous show, Will & Grace.

  • One of the most obvious similarities between Hayes's character from Sean Saves the World and Jack McFarland, the role that made him a TV star, is that they're both gay. However, Hayes noted that there's been a lot of change for gay characters in the 15 years since Will & Grace debuted: "Thankfully, it's an afterthought, just like any other character of a minority, which is how it should be. It's even sad it's a question, really, but here we are." Executive producer Victor Fresco also noted, "I think that show allowed this show to happen. There's a gay man in the center of it, but it's not a show about being gay."
  • Hilty, who plays an old friend of Sean's, joked about how this show compares to Smash: "This is a musical, isn't it? That's what I signed up for." After acknowledging that Sean Saves the World is just slightly different than Smash, she went on to note, "I'm really excited to be doing a complete 180 from my last job. I love making people laugh." Fair enough, but Fresco did note that there would be some dancing coming up for her on the show.
  • Lavin, who plays Sean's demanding mother, talked about how TV writing has changed for female characters: "I'm playing a mother who is not the butt of a joke, who is not a simpleton . . . I want her to be full-blown."