NBC announced that its multi-Emmy Award-winning drama "The West Wing" (Sundays, 8-9 p.m. ET) will conclude its storied run on Sunday, May 14 after seven hallmark seasons with an hour-long retrospective (7-8 p.m. ET) followed by a special series finale (8-9 p.m. ET), it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Entertainment.
"We are proud to have had the opportunity to bring television viewers one of the most acclaimed series in television history," said Reilly. "From the venerable, moving performances by the first-rate cast to the sterling creative team behind the camera, this series has left an indelible imprint on the landscape of television drama."
As the critically acclaimed winner of four consecutive Emmy Awards as Outstanding Drama Series, "The West Wing" -- under the direction of executive producer John Wells (NBC's "ER") -- has always offered viewers a realistic, behind-the-scenes peek into the Oval Office and the campaign trail that leads there.
The sophisticated, one-hour drama series stars Emmy winner Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), the late Emmy-winning John Spencer ("L.A. Law"), Emmy winner Bradley Whitford (My Fellow Americans), Emmy winner Richard Schiff (Deep Impact), Emmy winner Allison Janney (American Beauty), Emmy winner Jimmy Smits ("NYPD Blue," "L.A. Law"), Emmy winner Alan Alda ("M*A*S*H"), Emmy nominee Dule Hill ("Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk!"), Emmy nominee Janel Moloney ("Sports Night"), Emmy winner Stockard Channing ("Six Degrees of Separation"), Joshua Malina ("Sports Night"), Kristin Chenoweth ("Wicked") and Mary McCormack (Private Parts).
"The West Wing" holds the record for most Emmys won by a series in a single season (its first) and has earned 90 total nominations to date. Other awards include a Peabody Award for Excellence in Television, five Golden Globe nominations and one Golden Globe Award for Best Drama Series, and three Television Critics Association Awards.
At the core of the current 2005-06 season is the campaign between Democratic nominee Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Republican challenger Vinick (Alan Alda) for the Presidency. President Bartlet (Sheen) and his team find themselves leading the country with the administration's days coming to a close.
NBC's groundbreaking, Emmy Award-winning "Will & Grace" (Thursdays, 8-8:30 p.m. ET) will officially conclude its eight-year run on Thursday, May 18 with an hour-long series retrospective (8-9 p.m. ET) followed by a one-hour series finale (9-10 p.m. ET), it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President, NBC Entertainment.
"It is a bittersweet moment for all of us at NBC to confirm that this will be the final season of the comedy 'Will & Grace", said Reilly. "For seven years the show assembled one of the finest comedic casts on television, bringing to life the hilarious, groundbreaking scripts from Mutchnick, Kohan and their writing team to create what has truly become one of the classic comedies on television."
The comedy series has been averaging a 4.0 rating, 11 share among adults 18-49 and 8.8 million viewers overall in the first two weeks since its January 5 switch to the 8 p.m. half-hour on Thursdays nights. In those two weeks, "Will & Grace" has lifted NBC 38 percent above its 18-49 season average in the time period (with a 4.0 rating vs. a 2.9). On January 12, the second "Will & Grace" live episode of the season generated NBC's highest 18-49 rating in the time period since Feb. 10, 2005.
"Will & Grace" is also primetime's most upscale half-hour comedy in the show's concentration of homes with $100,000-plus incomes in its 18-49 audience.
To date, "Will & Grace" has been nominated for 73 Emmys, 27 Golden Globes, 19 Screen Actors Guild Awards and 12 People's Choice Awards. Among its 14 Emmy wins, the series won for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2000. In 2002 and 2003, it had more Emmy nominations than any other comedy series. Plus, in 2005 "Will & Grace" was tied as one of the most-nominated series and also scored its highest number of Emmy nominations in a single year with 15.
"Will & Grace" has also won eight GLAAD Media Awards, two TV Guide Awards, and one Directors Guild Award. Additionally, the show has been nominated for six American Comedy Awards, seven Television Critics Association Awards, and five Producers Guild Awards.
James Burrows, one of the series' executive producers, was nominated earlier this month for a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy for the episode "Alive and Schticking."
Starring Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally, the show continues to focus on the bizarre but abiding friendships between four Manhattan friends -- Will Truman (McCormack), Grace Adler (Messing), Jack McFarland (Hayes) and Karen Walker (Mullally).