The world may need saving but is Sean Hayes the one to handle the task?
Maybe not, but the point of his new comedy Sean Saves The World is to make us laugh and audiences will be able to find out if the actor, who gained fame with the long-running Will & Grace, has succeeded on October 3rd when the series premieres on NBC.
In the sitcom, out single Dad Sean (Hayes) has newly been given full time custody of his 14-year old daughter, Ellie (Sami Isler) and is doing the best he can to raise her and keep life running smoothly. However, his pushy mother, Lorna, (TV legend Linda Lavin, who we recently talked with about the show) is very present as well as Sean’s BFF, Liz (played by Megan Hilty) along with Sean juggling a busy work life.
But will Sean, the sitcom character, have a dating life?
The pilot episode does establish Sean as single but Hayes recently explained, “of course the goal is for him to move forward and evolve as the show goes on, and that includes more dating, and hopefully sooner than later, settling down with somebody and including that person into our family and mine and his.” (Leave your casting thoughts in the comments below!)
When asked if he intended on making a more gay issue/message driven show like last season’s The New Normal, Hayes adamantly said, “absolutely not. If that’s a byproduct of their viewing experience, fantastic. But it’s definitely not in the forefront of our minds when creating this show week-to-week. It’s making people laugh and telling great stories. I think with me playing a gay dad, the gay part should be the fifth most interesting thing about the character. It definitely doesn’t need to be focused on that just like in real life. So if it’s groundbreaking for being extra funny, great. But there is no agenda here other than to be funny.”
While Hayes has made a name for himself post-W&G as producer of hit series like NBC’s Grimm and TVLand’s Hot In Cleveland, he admitted the time was right to step back in front of the camera in his own sitcom. “I know a lot of friends and fans had been saying, ‘When are you coming back to TV? When are you coming back to TV?’ which is a wonderful thing to hear. And then the network asked, ‘When are you coming back to TV?’ And like everything, it’s about timing, and so all these things just came in line.”
Hayes met with Victor Fresco, who created series like Better Off Ted and wrote on My Name Is Earl and Mad About You, and, Hayes remembered, “we were tossing around ideas and we landed on this one. And I was like, ‘Yes, I’ve never seen that character on TV before, a single gay dad raising a family, or raising his daughter actually. And so to me, television is all about characters you haven’t seen and relationships you haven’t seen. And this one I haven’t seen yet, so I thought that was interesting.”
Besides casting Lavin, who, Hayes said, “you could give literally any line to and she would get a huge laugh,” a late addition to the cast was Hilty, who Hayes worked with last season on NBC’s Smash. “I’m excited for our viewers who are fans of hers from either Smash or Broadway or anywhere, to see on a large scale her comedy chops which are brilliant,” he said. “And she is just a delight to have around and adds so much comedy to the team. So we’re very lucky to get her.”
With all these musical theater performers in one sitcom, isn’t Sean Saves The World begging for a musical number…or ten? Hayes admitted so far there are no plans for that, but he added, excitedly, “If we ever do get the opportunity, it would be great to showcase all of this talent on the show that has more than one threat going on besides acting.”
Finally, why the title Sean Saves The World? “That was actually the first title that Victor came up with,” Hayes revealed. “I hate coming up with titles and he just loved the irony of my character thinking the weight of the world, quite literally, was on my shoulders, and balancing all of the crazy people in my life, in my own world, which feels like the entire world is on your shoulders. So I just think that’s just the thought of it. And it’s kind of fun for my name to be in the title…it just seemed that the title fit the show perfectly for what my character goes through every week.”
Sean Saves The World premieres October 3rd at 9pm on NBC.