Sean Saves the World Star Sean Hayes Discusses New Series

Even the most casual television viewer knows Sean Hayes. Given his scene-stealing turn as Jack in the hit series Will & Grace and his many guest star spots across the television landscape, Sean Hayes has been a fixture on our television screens for many years. In recent years, he’s diversified his portfolio to include producing, most notably on the NBC series Grimm.

Now, Hayes will add another show to the NBC family, this time as the series star and executive producer of the new show Sean Saves the World. Hayes will play the title character, who will struggle to juggle personal and professional when his daughter comes to live with him full-time. The show marks Hayes first ever leading role on television, and he was kind enough to sit down TV Equals during a conference call last month. Here’s a bit of what he had to say:

What to expect from his character

While Jack MacFarland was a straight-forward, static television character, Hayes assures us that his character in Sean Save the World will continue to grow and evolve as the series progresses. In Hayes’ mind, his character’s evolution will also surround his dating life. Ideally, Hayes would like to find someone his character can incorporate into his family.

The casting of Megan Hilty…

After Megan Hilty was introduced to Hayes while they worked together on Smash, Hayes made her a regular on his new show. Hayes remarked that the show was “fortunate to get her and to have her come on board to share her talent. And 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.”

… And Linda Lavin

Hayes was also excited about adding Linda Lavin, who plays Sean’s mom, to the cast. Between himself, Lavin, and Hilty, the cast is littered with veterans of the theater. Hayes believes the theater experience will benefit the show because in his mind, multicams are the closest thing to doing live theater. Hayes touted Lavin’s comedic abilities in addition to being “an incredibly warm, down-to-earth person”.

Why this project?

Given Hayes’ busy schedule, one of the callers wanted to know why this project brought him back to television. “Well, everything is about timing. And 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?” said Hayes. Hayes also cited his meeting with creator Victor Fresco. He believes they’ve truly created a character that will be new to the television viewing audience. To their credit, the single gay dad raising a family does seem like an idea I haven’t seen before.

Message to take away from the show

While Hayes doesn’t discourage people to take something away from the show, he contends the show’s only goal is to be funny: “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.”

What about the show will make people want to tune in and watch?

According to Hayes, the show that premieres on Thursday will seek to copy what made the night great on NBC a in the 90s. “I think people miss the sensibility of Frasier and Will & Grace and Cheers and Seinfeld and all the NBC comedies. And I think if you missed that sensibility on television, you’ll hopefully get it again with Sean Saves the World.”

Guest stars to pop in

Given Hayes’ extensive television rolodex, he was asked about the potential for guest stars to pop in over the course of the first season. In the first few episodes alone, Hayes mentioned Stacy Keach and Robert Gant will pop in. As for the future, Hayes remarked that it’s only a matter of time before he gets his friends to star doing guest spots. He specifically mentioned getting Ben Affleck on the show “if it’s the last thing I do”.

Sean Saves the World premieres on Thursday at 9 PM on NBC.