Sean Hayes hopes his gay character in Sean Saves the World rates no higher than the top five.
Uh, I'll let Hayes explain that.
"I think with me playing a gay dad, the gay part should be the fifth-most interesting thing about the character," Hayes says. "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."
That's good, because sitcoms with social or cultural agendas - yes, I'm remembering you, The New Normal - usually flop.
"Just to clarify, the characteristic of the man being gay is the fifth-most interesting thing," Hayes adds. "But on a day-to-day level in society, dealing with these kinds of issues within my daughter's life and my life and our life together, at work and all of those things, I've never seen that on TV.
"(Audiences) definitely have progressed in a great way. I don't know that this is that shocking a character any more as far as the gay thing goes. But the situations a single gay father is in, that's new (to TV)."
Sean Saves the World debuts Wednesday on Global, and then Thursday on its network of origin, NBC. Besides Hayes, Sean Saves the World also stars Megan Hilty, Linda Lavin, Thomas Lennon, Echo Kellum and Canadian Vik Sahay.
Hayes' character, conveniently named Sean, is a busy man surrounded by a lot of crazy people at the office and in his personal life. And his hands are full enough taking care of his 14-year-old daughter Ellie (Samantha Isler) on weekends. But obviously major adjustments have to be made when Ellie moves in with her dad full-time.
Hayes is best known as the sarcastic Jack McFarland on Will & Grace, which ran from 1998 to 2006. Currently Hayes also is serving as an executive producer on the NBC series Grimm. So why did he decide to dive back into sitcom acting now?
"Everything is about timing," Hayes says. "A lot of friends and fans had been saying, '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?' All these things just came in line.
"When I met with Victor Fresco, the creator of this show, we were tossing around ideas and we landed on this one. I was like, 'Yes, I've never seen that character on TV before, a single gay dad raising his daughter.' To me, television is all about characters you haven't seen and relationships you haven't seen.
"But I think people miss the sensibility of Frasier and Will & Grace and Cheers and Seinfeld and all the NBC comedies. If you miss that sensibility on television, you'll hopefully get it again with Sean Saves the World."
Nothing like aiming high, Sean.