'The History of Comedy' Creators Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner Reveal What Drives TV Revivals

From Full House to Will & Grace, and now Murphy Brown set to return this year, there's no denying TV is in the midst of a revival renaissance.

(Photo: Charley Gallay / Getty Images for Turner)

The reboot craze has reached new heights thanks to returning favorites making viewers feel like we've stepped into a time machine straight out of Quantum Leap — which has yet to be revived — but why are we so addicted to them?

While promoting the second season of his CNN Original Series The History of Comedy with Todd Milliner, actor Sean Hayes, who returned last fall to his beloved role in Will & Grace as Jack McFarland, told PopCulture.com that it's all about the value of time.

"There's so much content out there now and people's time is more valuable than ever, so they want to tune into something they know will deliver," he said. "So instead of rolling the dice on investing six to 10 hours on this new show over here that I don't know is going to make me laugh — it could, or could not, I know one of these tried and true friends I've developed through my living room over the years will."

While many have speculated over the past two years since the 2016 U.S. election that the resurgence of revivals correlates to the need for familiarity in a time of uncertainty, Hayes adds a lot of it can point to self-healing through laughter, while Milliner says the greatest treasure alone is seeing your favorites return to television.

"If I liked something before, I want to see what those folks are doing again," Milliner said. "If it's not really a reminder of happier times ... because who knows if you were happier then, but what it gives us is the opportunity to reminisce, invite people back into our homes that we loved seeing there before."

Milliner adds in the case of shows that are so beloved such as Will & Grace, it gets a lot more personal.

"[Shows] that I loved that ended made me feel like a part of me had died," he laughed. "Because these friends didn't get to come over anymore [and] that's the joy of reboots. Should they reboot Small Wonder? I don't know. Somebody wanted that robot girl to come over … I guess we all remember things a little 'rosier' than before."

After an 11-year hiatus, Will & Grace returned to become one of the more successful revivals in recent years. The show has averaged a solid 9.8 million viewers and 3.1 rating in the adults 18-49 demo in Nielsen's live-plus-seven ratings since its fall debut in the Thursday 9 p.m. ET slot. A new season is set to return this fall.

Season 2 of the CNN Original Series The History of Comedy premieres Sunday, July 15 at 10 p.m. ET on CNN, and is executive produced by Hazy Mills Productions masterminds Hayes and Milliner (Grimm, Hot in Cleveland and Hollywood Game Night).


Photo credit: Charley Gallay / Getty Images for Turner