Associated Press AP

How About a $300 Parka with that Toothpaste? The New Wave of Hotel Shops

The interior of the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Like most of the Ace’s locations, this shop features an array of co-branded items that bear the Ace’s logo.
The interior of the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Like most of the Ace’s locations, this shop features an array of co-branded items that bear the Ace’s logo. Photo: Ace Hotels

The Line Hotel in Los Angeles does not have a traditional Tylenol-and-toothpaste hotel store. In the lobby, instead, is an outpost of Poketo, a small west-coast boutique chain whose website promises a “carefully curated…collection of design-conscious goods meant to cultivate a creative lifestyle.” On a recent visit to the hotel, I wandered into the store and found teepee-shaped incense burners, jute-fiber tote bags and primary-colored stools. The only thing for sale that I could actually have used during my four-day stay at the Line was a toothbrush, a sleek black one that made the Oral-B in my bag seem awfully pedestrian.

When it comes to lobby stores, hotel have been forced to adapt dramatically since the Howard Johnson 1950s, or even the ‘90s. No one sends postcards in the texting age. Snow globes have devolved into chintzy tchotchkes. And a Diet Coke? Why there’s a minibar for that. Today, in an effort to stay relevant, many lobby shops around the world are closer in spirit to upscale boutiques.

W Hotels helped pioneer these rejiggered hotel stores when it opened its first at its Times Square location in 2001. The store was “the complete opposite of what a hotel convenience store had been in the past,” explained Anthony Ingham, the global brand leader of W Hotels. It sold a “curated range of fashion” as well as W branded items. Today 90% of W’s hotels have such a store. Though each location’s stock varies, it can include anything from a throw pillow screen printed with a tiara to a shrimp-patterned swimsuit. “People buy more adventurous things when they’re travelling than they do at home,” said Mr. Ingham, adding that W nevertheless still does brisk business in classic branded items like bathrobes and sheets, which are also available through the W’s online shop.

The W Hotel’s Times Square location, which appears more like a high-fashion boutique than a traditional lobby shop.
The W Hotel’s Times Square location, which appears more like a high-fashion boutique than a traditional lobby shop. Photo: W Hotels Worldwide

Whereas guests once purchased Ritz Carlton sheets to relive the opulence of an overnight stay, some visitors today are buying hotel-branded clothes in lobby stores in a more showy, “I was there” sort of way. A McKinsey study released last year found that millennials are spending more money on experiences than products, and hotels have found a way to offer both. A T-shirt from Hotel San José in Austin, a ball cap from the El Rey Inn in Santa Fe, or a sweatshirt from Chicago Athletic Hotel show off that you’re a worldly traveler. Or perhaps that you were savvy enough to buy that Chicago Athletic Hotel sweatshirt on the hotel’s website. Cosmopolitan status, without the expense of a plane ticket.

“It’s a way to align yourself with a brand that speaks to you as a traveler person,” said William Matalene, 26, a marketing manager in New York City who purchased a branded bathrobe from the Ace Hotel during a visit to its Shoreditch location and candles from the Hôtel Costes in Paris. “It could be a small humblebrag,” said Mr. Matalene, who has also taken to giving those Hôtel Costes candles as presents to friends. “It’s definitely alluring. It says, ‘Oh I’ve been there.’”

The Standard Hotel’s new clothing collection features a range of cheeky slogans and emblems that riff on the hotel’s “sexy” image.
The Standard Hotel’s new clothing collection features a range of cheeky slogans and emblems that riff on the hotel’s “sexy” image.

Earlier this year, when Landis Smithers became the chief creative officer of the Standard, a cluster of chichi boutique hotels in New York, Los Angeles and Miami, he dispatched a team to each location to find out what items guests asked for most frequently. The number one answer was a logo T-shirt. That inspired Mr. Smithers to develop a full line of clothing and accessories that launched late last month at the hotels and online. The clothes often riff on items found throughout the hotel: A “Privacy Please” placard inspired a sweatshirt with that phrase printed along the hood while the hotel’s black key cards were converted into wallet-sized bottle openers. Mr. Smithers acknowledged that he is “not reimagining the wheel” and that much of the appeal of, say, a T-shirt that just says “The Standard” comes from the hotel’s “sexy” image. “You wouldn’t be as comfortable wearing a Marriott logo anywhere on you,” he said.

The Ace, a Los Angeles-based hotel chain with nine global locations, has long been in the merchandise game, primarily through partnerships with existing companies. This tradition began when the Ace opened its Portland location in 2006 and collaborated with Converse, of sneaker fame, on uniforms. Since then, the chain has teamed up with the insider-y Canadian fleece brand Wings + Horns to sell a boxing robe, eco-conscious label Everybody.World on a recycled tote bag and Japan’s Hender Scheme on $120 natural leather slippers.

The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles has collaborated with many local designers including the shoe designer George Esquivel.
The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles has collaborated with many local designers including the shoe designer George Esquivel. Photo: Dorchester Collection

Often, hotels collaborate with local companies or sell their wares, as a way to integrate guests into the neighborhood, so to speak. The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles has partnered with shoe designer George Esquivel, photographer Gray Malin and the hat maker Nick Fouquet—all of whom are based in the city.

A lobby store that sells a range of fashion and accessories from local designers lets guests “almost shortcut that process of discovering something new in the city,” said W’s Mr. Ingham. For the recent opening of W’s Hotel in Barcelona the chain collaborated with Barcelona-based artist Ricardo Cavolo and local shoe company Muroexe on a sneaker. So what if you’re staying at the W Barcelona and all you really want is shaving cream? “You just to have call [the front desk] and they’ll bring it to your room for free,” said Mr. Ingham. “You don’t have to buy anything.”

More in Style & Fashion

Write to Jacob Gallagher at Jacob.Gallagher@wsj.com

Starz’s Power Shuts Down Production After Crew Member’s Death On Location

The cast and crew of Power are mourning one of their own today. The Starz series has shut down production on its sixth season following the death of a crew member. The ultimately fatal accident took place on location, where filming was set to take place.

The car-related accident occurred in the early hours of the morning on Monday. Pedro Jimenez, 63, was setting up parking cones for a location shoot in Brooklyn when an SUV struck him. That SUV was being driven by a fellow crew member for Power.

The NYPD is currently investigating the accident. Early details describe a heartbreaking tragedy. Talking to The New York Post, a witness to the aftermath of the tragic scene described the driver being incredibly distraught in the wake of the fatal collision.

Pedro Jimenez had been a familiar face on the set of the Starz drama. He had been a long-time part of Power‘s production. He worked on the series ever since it initially began production years ago. Starz has released a statement to Deadline in the wake of Jimenez’s passing. That statement read:

None of Power‘s cast members were reportedly on the set at the time of the tragic accident. They were scheduled to arrive on set a few hours later at 7 AM ET. The collision occurred around 4:30 AM ET. In light of Pedro Jimenez’s passing and the pre-planned break for the holidays, production may hold off on resuming until early next year.

Accidents involving crew members are rare but not unheard of. Just a few months ago, a crew member working on Tom Hanks’ Mr. Rodgers movie died following a two-story fall from a balcony. At the time, it was believed that crew member’s fall was caused by a medical emergency.

Deaths on the sets of movies and television have often involved stunt performers, as was the case for the action-focused film, Deadpool 2. Stunt performer Joi Harris died following a motorcycle accident. Last year, a stuntman on The Walking Dead perished after a fatal fall on the set of the AMC series.

Crew members tasked with setting up areas for filming are similarly faced with hazardous tasks. Whether further protocols will need to be taken to prevent an accident in the future, time will tell.

Power is in the midst of filming its sixth season. The series follows Omari Hardwick’s James “Ghost” St. Patrick. He leads a double life as a nightclub owner and a drug kingpin. Recent news opened the door to potential spinoffs of the mega-popular show. Power is expected to return in the new year. An exact premiere date has not been set yet.

The Latest Housing Hotspot: Downtown and by the River

Randy and Gail Ross recently downsized from a suburban house on a lake near Minneapolis to a luxury condominium in the city’s downtown district— but they still have a water view.

From nearly every room of their 14th-floor condominium at the Legacy, a new 374-unit residential tower in Minneapolis, they overlook the Mississippi River, as well as St. Anthony Falls and the historic Stone Arch Bridge.

To…

Princess Leia Was Apparently Recast For Star Wars Resistance’s Winter Finale

Leia Organa will always and forever be associated with the late, great Carrie Fisher, but other actresses have tackled the role for various Star Wars animated series. Voice actress Rachel Butera landed the role for Disney Channel’s Star Wars Resistance, and she first voiced the princess-turned-general in that show’s series premiere. Given the timeline of Star Wars Resistance, the odds were always good that Leia would be back. That apparently didn’t mean Butera would be back. Star Wars Resistance evidently recast the role.

The recasting wasn’t announced ahead of Star Wars Resistance‘s winter finale, and it seems the switcheroo was done quietly. In the closing credits of the winter finale, General Leia Organa was listed as being voiced by Carolyn Hennesy, not Rachel Butera. Hennesy also voiced Leia for episodes of LEGO Star Wars: All-Stars. In hindsight, it is possible to tell that the voices are slightly different, but fans might never have realized there had been a recasting if not for the closing credits.

Although no official explanation has been given for why Leia had to be recast, it’s possible that Rachel Butara’s controversial post on social media (that has since been deleted) back in September led to her dismissal from the Star Wars project. We may never know for sure unless Lucasfilm or Disney makes an announcement, but the fact remains that Butera is no longer the woman behind Leia on the small screen.

That honor belongs to Carolyn Hennesy, for now, at least. Neither Hennesy nor Rachel Butera were the first actress to voice an animated Leia. Different actresses voiced younger versions of the character for Star Wars Forces of Destiny and Star Wars Rebels. It should be interesting to see how much Carolyn Hennsey will contribute as Leia Organa.

As a general in the Resistance, Leia has had bigger concerns than Kaz’s mission so far. Given that Resistance‘s first season takes place only months ahead of the sequel trilogy (as opposed to Rebels, which began years before the original trilogy timeline), we may want to expect Leia to turn up more often, especially if Kaz takes a larger role in the Resistance when they need all hands on deck. Star Wars fans everywhere know that dark days are coming thanks to Starkiller Base, and Resistance showrunner Justin Ridge explained why the show is set so close to The Force Awakens.

I know my fingers are crossed for Leia on a more regular basis on Resistance. This is the first of the Star Wars animated shows that is likely to run into the timeline of the films. Clone Wars took place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and Rebels (aside from the epilogue filled with bombshells that shocked even the voice cast) was set ahead of Rogue One and A New Hope. It should be fun to see how Resistance continues to set itself apart.

Resistance should also help whet Star Wars fans’ appetites as we wait for the next movie to hit theaters, the revival of Clone Wars, and those live-action shows to debut on Disney+. It will return with new episodes in the new year. For more of what you can watch in 2019, swing by our midseason TV premiere guide.

The Transformers Franchise Isn’t Getting A Reboot, But There Will Be Changes

Next week, the Transformers film series is continuing with the prequel spinoff Bumblebee, but the future of the franchise after that is shrouded in mystery. Earlier this year, it was rumored that Paramount Pictures was going to reboot the robots in disguise, although the report was debunked days later by a Hasbro executive. Transformers producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has now confirmed that a reboot isn’t on the way, though there are still changes in store for upcoming Transformers movies. Di Bonaventura said:

Although the Transformers movies have usually been box office heavyweights, last year’s Transformers: The Last Knight only made $605 million worldwide, making it the lowest-grossing entry of the franchise. Couple that with the poor reviews (though admittedly, the Transformers movies have never been critical darlings), and it’s understandable why the producers are interested in making a course correction. Lorenzo Di Bonaventura described these upcoming changes as an evolution, though noted the difficulty of keeping the elements that fans love without giving them the same kind of product over and over again, which results in boredom.

During his interview with Slashfilm, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura also mentioned that Bumblebee is the key to the future of the Transformers movies, as it showed you can take this franchise in a different direction in terms of scale and tone. Di Bonaventura continued:

Of course, if the Transformers franchise were to press the reboot button, it would leave the main film series on a cliffhanger, as The Last Knight ended with Quintessa having survived and, in human form, offering to aid a group of scientists with destroying Unicron. However, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura isn’t as concerned with wrapping up that particular plot thread, noting that he’s not a fan of Unicron. That’s not to say the character won’t appear again, but the main concern is simply making sure future Transformers movies are good.

Although Transformers 6 was originally originally dated for June 28, 2019, it was taken off the calendar back in May, leaving it unclear when the next main Transformers installment would arrive. Judging by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, fans don’t need to worry about the existing cinematic continuity being wiped away, but rest assured, there will be a variety of creative shifts to ensure that this franchise keeps going.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates concerning the entire Transformers franchise. In the meantime, Bumblebee, which is winding the clock back to 1987 and showing the eponymous yellow Autobot arriving on Earth for the first time, rolls out into theaters on December 21.

It’s Always Sunny’s Rob McElhenney Reveals The Gross Diet He Kept For Fat Mac

The creation of Fat Mac was a hilarious gag that It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia seemingly pulled on a whim for Season 6. However, making it happen was much more difficult than one might expect. Co-creator and Mac portrayer Rob McElhenney revealed he gained 60 pounds for the character’s new look, with a diet that consisted of ice cream soup and cottage cheese. Not together though…we think.

Rob McElhenney said he’d originally tried to gain the weight a “healthy way,” with chicken and rice and other weight-building foods. But when that proved too difficult and time-consuming, his nutritionist he could get the same gains form eating two Big Mac’s a day. McElhenney added a few other things on top of that gluttonous meal plan.

That calorically magnified method proved much more effective than Rob McElhenney’s attempt to gain mass in the healthiest way possible. Note that his doctor told the actor there was no healthy way to gain that much weight. When McElhenney referenced Christian Bale’s transformational weight gains between roles as a point of reference, his doc mentioned that he knew Bale’s doctor, and in so many words, the medical pro let McElhenney know it wasn’t healthy for Bale to do either.

Rob McElhenney’s health may have been rapidly declining, but he was definitely packing on weight. Unfortunately, he told Dax Shepard (on his podcast Armchair Expert) that the weight didn’t seem to be progressing fast enough to justify the storyline. McElhenney had three months to go before shooting and knew he had to go the extra mile to complete the “Fat Mac” transformation. Fortunately, he managed to find the answer in a certain dairy product.

Fat Mac was there weight-wise, but was still not quite perfect perfect. Most of the weight to this point had only traveled to Rob McElhenney’s gut, so he needed to find a way to get it to go elsewhere. He then enlisted a fitness trainer to help him with powerlifting so that the weight could be spread out to other parts of his body. McElhenney said it was a risky gambit, given his sudden weight gain, but it paid off.

For anyone wondering what effects were suffered health-wise, Rob McElhenney said he did gain a fatty liver, but that it went away once the weight dropped off and he stopped drinking as much. That played into losing the weight as well.

McElhenney said it was “easy” to drop the pounds after the Fat Mac season, mostly because quitting drinking cut out an average of 4,000 calories a day. The actor’s tolerance for wine had gotten so high during the process that he said he could finish 1.5 to 2 bottles of wine a night.

Rob McElhenney did eventually get back in shape and then some in what became the premise for “Jacked Mac.” McElhenney shared a photo of his two radically different It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia physiques on Instagram and shared the big secret to how he got to be so ripped.

With a plan that sounds so easy and available to everyone, it’s a wonder we aren’t all Jacked Macs, right?

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is in the offseason right now, but viewers can binge all seasons currently via FX+. For a list of shows that are airing or soon to air in the coming weeks, be sure to visit our fall and midseason premiere guides.

Alessia Cara Channels Beyoncé For A Flawless Destiny’s Child Mash-Up

Can you handle this? Alessia Cara has crafted a killer mash-up of Destiny’s Child classics that proves what we’ve known for a long time: the 22-year-old is a bonafide cover queen.

For her recent performance at SiriusXM, Cara was joined by three additional singers — think of them as the Kelly, Michelle, and LaTavia to her Beyoncé — and a small backing band. Together, they flew through a medley that began in stunning fashion with the iconic girl group’s 1999 hit “Say My Name.” From there, they seamlessly transitioned into “Bills Bills Bills,” got spunky with “Bootylicious,” and let their vocals fly for the triumphant hook of “Survivor.”

Capping it off was a brief but beautiful bit of “Emotion,” which Cara made wholly her own. I don’t think they can handle this.

Cara’s flawless Destiny’s Child medley comes just a couple weeks after she released her sophomore album, The Pains of Growing. During her SiriusXM visit, Cara and her trusty band also performed a stripped-down take on that album’s latest single, “Trust My Lonely” — check that out below.

‘Sights and Sounds of Ancient Ritual’ Review: Art Meant to Excite the Soul

A Greek kylix with a man playing an aulos (double-reed instrument) at an altar (c. 480–470 B.C.), attributed to the Brygos Painter
A Greek kylix with a man playing an aulos (double-reed instrument) at an altar (c. 480–470 B.C.), attributed to the Brygos Painter Photo: Yale University Art Gallery

New Haven, Conn.

You can’t hear the rattling of the ancient Egyptian sistrum at the Yale University Art Gallery’s exhibition “Sights and Sounds of Ancient Ritual,” but you can glimpse aspects of its religious power. Constructed in the early centuries of the first millennium, this ceremonial noisemaker is coated in brilliant blue faience, which retains its otherworldly gloss. At its base, from which a handle once protruded, the head of the goddess Hathor gazes out, her fertile powers suggested by bovine ears. Above her a Grecian temple arch stands; between its pillars we see remnants of metal pieces that once rattled against each other when the instrument was shaken. During rituals, we learn, such sounds would have “evoked the rustling of rushes and grasses” under the goddess’s feet as she walked toward her temple; sistrums wielded by multiple celebrants would have produced a shiver of sound over the earth’s surface.

Sights and Sounds of Ancient Ritual

Yale University Art Gallery
Through March 3, 2019

Again and again, as we explore this remarkable exhibition, we are asked to imagine the effect of ritualistic sounds. A flute from Mexico (c. 900-1519) would have produced tones through the carved head of Xochipilli, god of music, dance and pleasure (who makes several appearances here); a cast bronze priest’s bell from 13th-century Java topped by a demonic-looking lion might have summoned the spirit world; the curved body of a ceramic ocarina in the shape of a kinkajou from Costa Rica (1200-1550) contains finger-holes for altering pitches, thus transforming animal cries into melody.

The sounds, we see, are also being produced in images. In one sensuously carved tableau made of schist (c. late first-early fourth century), a South Asian musician plays a drum as a dancer claps and steps amid acanthus leaves; it would have once adorned the steps of a domed stupa, housing relics of the Buddha. And a fifth-century B.C. Greek bell krater, in which wine and water would have been mixed, shows a priest about to wash his hands before sacrificing a goat as a musician stands nearby playing an aulos (a double-reed wind instrument); above them all, rows of minuscule marks in the pottery’s black background seem to suggest ethereal vibrations of music and chant.

Egyptian sistrum (rattle) with the head of Hathor (c. 304-30 B.C.)
Egyptian sistrum (rattle) with the head of Hathor (c. 304-30 B.C.) Photo: Yale University Art Gallery

Yet as we look, all is silent. No surprise there. That is how we usually think of the ancient world. But we also begin to see how much we are missing. The curator, Carolyn M. Laferrière, is a postdoctoral associate at Archaia—Yale’s Program for the Study of Ancient and Premodern Cultures and Societies—who is working on a study of ancient Greek music and ritual. She has gathered more than 80 works from the Art Gallery and the Yale Babylonian Collection at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History; they span over three millennia, from about 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1500, and range widely geographically as well, originating from Greece, Rome, Western Europe, Egypt, West Africa, China and Mesoamerica. Ritual, the exhibition argues, is a multisensory experience in which smells, tastes and sounds have a vital role.

A ceremonial, zoomorphic jar from Costa Rica (1000-1350)
A ceremonial, zoomorphic jar from Costa Rica (1000-1350) Photo: Yale University Art Gallery

Ritual, in other words, is spiritual theater. A ceramic sculpture (600-1200) of the god Xochipilli—whose domains, we learn, include not just music and dance but lust, gambling and hallucinogens—doubles as an incense burner; clouds of fragrant smoke would have emanated from his image. A small Chinese bronze incense burner (from second-century B.C. to A.D. second century) is said to represent the Isle of the Blessed where revered ancestors dwell; smoke would have arisen around the mountain peaks like billowing clouds. Visual power is crucial: However faded, a painted processional crucifix from 12th-century Spain commands attention. Illuminated pages of a 15th-century choir book with the Latin Mass shine with retrospective glory; the leaves, with their early forms of musical notation, prefigure the evolution of Western art music.

Double-sided processional cross (c. 1310), by the Master of the Gubbio Cross
Double-sided processional cross (c. 1310), by the Master of the Gubbio Cross Photo: Yale University Art Gallery

These artifacts, from vastly different cultures and times, also show something about ritual’s purpose. Ritual often marks a passage from one realm into another—the profane and the sacred, life and death, the animal and the human. The exhibition’s objects often seem at home on both sides of such divides. In some cases, instruments (like that Mexican flute) turn the player into a god. In others, as in images of Dionysos from Greece and Rome, music turns players into half-beasts. A ceremonial jar from Costa Rica (1000-1350) is shaped like a grotesque humanoid animal; the head pours a presumably intoxicating drink into the celebrant’s mouth, but the jar, thus upturned, would replace the drinker’s face with an animal’s behind, within which a rattle adds sound effects.

Vessel with gods of drunkenness from Guatemala or Mexico (600-900)
Vessel with gods of drunkenness from Guatemala or Mexico (600-900) Photo: Yale University Art Gallery

But music is the crucial force. It can touch on the demonic and the divine at once, even bridging life and death (some artifacts here were buried with the dead). Music is an intoxicant and a revelation, an accompaniment to mourning and to celebration; it bears the marks of both Apollo and Dionysus. I wish the gallery had figured out a way to provide a more vivid auditory and visual sense of these objects in action. But then I would have imagined less. Spend some time here and you may even suspect, with Keats, that heard melodies are sweet, unheard melodies sweeter.

Men In Black: International Goes To The Desert In Early Photo

For next year’s reboot-quel of the Men in Black franchise, Men in Black: International, the agency that monitors and polices alien activity on earth is going global, taking a new pair of agents on a jet-setting adventure. The journey will take them far from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple all the way to the heat of the Sahara Desert. Take a look below to see Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth’s agents braving the heat in style.

These two look like they’re posing for a fashion catalog here. Either that or they’re about to break out a dance number since in her Instagram post, Tessa Thompson compares her and her co-star to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Then again, it’s probably hard to dance with sand in your shoes. It is after all, rough and course and it gets everywhere.

But of course, as Men in Black, these two are in the business of saving the universe, and for some reason, Men in Black: International sees them heading to the desert to do so. Tessa Thompson has teased this setting for Men in Black: International before in an image that showed the actress, who plays Agent M, and Chris Hemsworth, who plays Agent H, climbing a dune while holding umbrellas, which may or may not have just been for the actors between takes.

We still don’t know exactly what takes these two here in the film, but given the abilities of the Ford P.O.S. in the first Men in Black, I’ve got to think that the agency has better ways of traversing the desert than on foot. So I’m guessing that they get shot down or left in the desert to die by some adversary. And needless to say, they are not dressed for the occasion.

Tessa Thompson said that they lost the jackets for casual Friday, but jackets or not, it’s time someone said it, the suit uniforms worn by the Men in Black are wildly impractical for the job they perform. They aren’t a public-facing agency, so why are they dressed up so nice?

I feel like they’re more likely to stand out than disappear in a crowd. And I’ve never chased down a Cephalapoid on foot, but I tend to think that dress slacks and dress shoes would not be my first choice if I wanted to be successful in such an endeavor.

Suits are simply not the best for mobility, unless of course there is some alien technology in them courtesy of our extra-terrestrial friends I don’t know about. That might justify the attire.

Tessa Thompson’s and Chris Hemsworth’s agents will look more at home though in some of the film’s other locales. In addition to filming in Morocco, Men in Black: International also filmed in New York City, London and Italy.

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are joined in this film by Emma Thompson (returning to the franchise), Liam Neeson, Rafe Spall, Kumail Nanjiani and Rebecca Ferguson. Men in Black: International opens on June 14, 2019. For all of next year’s biggest movies, check out our 2019 release schedule.

Why Eric McCormack Doesn’t Think He’d Get Cast On Will And Grace These Days

Will & Grace‘s Eric McCormack is in an interesting position these days. He’s back on network TV playing a popular gay character, while in his personal life he’s a straight man, married to Janet Holden since 1997, just shortly before Will & Grace began airing in 1998. Reflecting on the role, McCormack recently admitted he probably wouldn’t even be invited to audition these days. The actor noted in a recent interview that the TV landscape has changed over the past two decades, leading to more diversity in roles. He succinctly said:

There are still some straight actors playing gay characters on television. Eric McCormack is one of them and Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet also comes to mind. However, the TV landscape has been opening up a lot more in recent years for actors from different backgrounds and communities to take on roles.

This year in particular saw broadcast TV incorporate 8.8 percent of its actors as people in the LGBTQ community–that’s a higher number than has ever occurred previously.

At the time when Will & Grace was initially broadcast, the show was coming shortly after Ellen DeGeneres’ Ellen was cancelled due to low ratings after Ellen’s character had come out on her show. (DeGeneres previously revealed she dealt with death threats around that time as well.)

For a major network to even greenlight another show with gay lead characters at the time was a big deal, and Eric McCormack also told the Sydney Morning Herald that because of the times, him nabbing the role when Will & Grace came up wasn’t as noteworthy as it would likely be today.

Although Eric McCormack doesn’t know how an audition would go for Will & Grace today, the show is back on the air and thriving. NBC brought the series back for the 2017-2018 season and it’s done well enough that it has been back for what turns out to be its official 10th season this fall.

You can catch Eric McCormack and the rest of the gang in action on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET, although it is moving into the Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. slot when the show returns to the winter schedule on January 31.

To take a look at when the rest of your favorites will be returning at midseason, be sure to check out our full TV premiere schedule.