'Will & Grace': Why Shelley Morrison's Rosario won't return for the revival


One familiar face won't be returning for NBC's highly anticipated Will & Grace revival.

Shelley Morrison, who played Rosario Salazar on the multicam, will not reprise her role in the new episodes, co-creator Max Mutchnick told a small group of reporters Thursday after the show's Television Critics Association summer press tour panel.

"Shelley has decided to retire," he said. "It was with a heavy heart that she gave us that information and that we received it, but it is the way that it goes. It is a choice that she has made. We really wanted Shelley to be a part of this series so we find ourselves having to figure that out moving forward. It was not an easy decision to make but it's one that she made."

Morrison first made her debut as Rosario, Karen's maid, in the season one finale of the comedy and went onto become a fan-favorite. She ultimately appeared in 64 episodes of the comedy and more recently appeared briefly in the election-themed reunion video released in September. However, Morrison has otherwise retired from acting. Her last on-screen credited role is an episode of My Name Is Earl from 2006 -- the same year Will & Grace originally went off the air. Her last acting credit is voice work on the 2012 animated film Foodfight!

See photos of Shelley Morrison on "Will & Grace":

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Shelley Morrison on 'Will & Grace'
WILL & GRACE -- Season 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- Season 3 -- Pictured: Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'Buy, Buy Baby' Episode 18 -- Aired 03/30/2006 -- Pictured: (l-r) Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Definition of Marriage' Episode 15 -- Aired 02/09/2006 -- Pictured: Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Finale' Episode 23 -- Pictured: (l-r) Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'Bathroom Humor' Episode 11 -- Pictured: (l-r) Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Eric McCormack as Will Truman (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'Von Trapped' Episode 10 -- Aired 01/05/2006 -- Pictured: (l-r) Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Debra Messing as Grace Adle, Taye Diggs as James Hanson, Eric McCormack as Will Truman (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'Alive and Schticking' Episode 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'Alive and Schticking' Episode 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Creator David Kohan, Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar, Creator Max Mutchnick, Alec Baldwin as Malcolm, Director James Burrows (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'Christmas Break' Episode 12 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Shelley Morrison as Rosario Salazar, Hallee Hirsh as Olivia Walker, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Debra Messing as Grace Adler -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
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Read more: 'Will and Grace' Revival Renewed for Season 2 at NBC

When asked if there was a way for Rosario to still play some sort of offscreen role in the upcoming revival, similar to Karen's never-seen but oft-mentioned husband Stan, Mutchnick shot down that possibility.

"We're not going to be doing that," he said. "The audience has come to know and love her — as we do — and we're dealing with her as a character and we're writing to it very specifically."

In addition to Morrison's departure, the writers plan to address the absence of Grace's mom, memorably played by Debbie Reynolds, who passed away in December. She played Bobbi Adler for 10 episodes, earning an Emmy nomination for best guest actress in a comedy series in 2000.

See photos from "Will & Grace":

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'Will & Grace'
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'Will & Grace'
WILL & GRACE -- Season 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- Season 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- Season 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Eric McCormack as Will Truman -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- Season 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Debra Messing as Grace Adler -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- Season 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'Gypsies, Tramps and Weed' Episode 7 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Cher as herself -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'It's the Gay Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' Episode 5 -- Pictured: (l-r) Harry Connick Jr. as Leo Markus, Debra Messing as Grace Adler -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'Marry Me a Little' Episode 8 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Harry Connick Jr. as Leo Markus, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'Dyeing Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard' Episode 14 -- Pictured: (l-r) Rosie O'Donnell as Bonnie, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'May Divorce Be with You' Episode 22 -- Pictured: (l-r) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Macaulay Culkin as Jason 'J.T.' Towne, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Needle and the Omelet's Done' Episode 7 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Jared Ward as Chris -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'It's the Gay Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' Episode 5 -- Pictured: (l-r) Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'It's the Gay Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' Episode 5 -- Pictured: (l-r) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Jason Marsden as Kim -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'Marry Me a Little More' Episode 9 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Tim Bagley as Larry -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'Das Boob' Episode 3 -- Aired 11/2/99 -- Pictured: (l-r) Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Eric McCormack as Will Truman (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- Season 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Eric McCormack as Will Truman (Photo by Bill Reitzel/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Finale' Episode 23 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Eric McCormack as Will Truman (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Finale' Episode 23 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Eric McCormack as Will Truman (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Finale' Episode 23 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kevin Bacon as Himself, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Finale' Episode 23 -- Pictured: (l-r) Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Eric McCormack as Will Truman (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Finale' Episode 23 -- Pictured: (l-r) Leslie Jordan as Beverley Leslie, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Finale' Episode 23 -- Pictured: (l-r) Harry Connick Jr. as Leo Markus, Baby Lila, Debra Messing as Grace Adler (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'Blanket Apology' Episode 19 -- Pictured: (l-r) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Sydney Pollack as George Truman, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Blythe Danner as Marilyn Truman -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'Partners 'N' Crime' Episode 21 -- Pictured: (l-r) Christina Moore as Kitty, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'Partners 'N' Crime' Episode 21 -- Pictured: (l-r) Laura Kightlinger as Sheila, Bobby Cannavale as Vince D'Angelo, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Eric McCormack as Will Truman (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Mourning Son' Episode 20 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jerry Levine as Joe, Tim Bagley as Larry, Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Leigh Allyn Baker as Ellen, Blythe Danner as Marilyn Truman, Tom Gallop as Rob, Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Debra Messing as Grace Adler -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'Buy, Buy Baby' Episode 18 -- Aired 03/30/2006 -- Pictured: (l-r) George Takei as himself, Wanda Sykes as Cricket (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'Buy, Buy Baby' Episode 18 -- Aired 03/30/2006 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Britney Spears as Amber-Louise, Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, George Takei as himself, Wanda Sykes as Cricket (Photo by Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
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"That was another part of the story that we had to really spend time on addressing all of the characters that existed in 198 episodes," Mutchnick said. "She's obviously not coming back but we will be speaking to it and the characters will be speaking to it."

Aside from the core four of Debra Messing, Erik McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes, the only confirmed returning supporting actor so far is Harry Connick Jr., who played Grace's husband. "We're in the process with some of these other folks and it will be great if it happens," co-creator and co-showrunner David Kohan said.

Will & Grace returns Sept. 28 on NBC.

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