Hollywood is back — and so is Abbott Elementary! Star Tyler James Williams is looking forward to the new season of the popular sitcom and is celebrating being able to return to work after the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes ended last year.
"It was everything. I mean, everyone was so happy to be back, and it feels like we're still riding that high," the Let it Shine star, who joined Johnnie Walker in celebrating his fellow nominees on Emmys night along with donating to the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) to support the ongoing work of the organization that offers assistance and care to those in the entertainment industry and their families with limited or no resources, exclusively tells Morning Honey.
When the series premiered in 2021, the star couldn't believe how much everyone immediately gravitated toward watching it.
"I think we need these moments of levity in the world that we live in currently," James Williams says of the show having a huge impact on others. "We know a lot about what we disagree with each other on, and we holler at each other about that, but we kind of forgot what we could laugh about together."
"You get a really good understanding that you're a part of history here. It is something that will hopefully be remembered," he continues. "I think, looking around the room [at the 2023 Emmy Awards] and seeing a bunch of artists that you just respect immensely — and who have contributed to this community and this industry year after year — you can't help but feel great and grateful."
In the upcoming episodes, fans will be able to see the characters being influenced by Philadelphia, Penn., and learn more about what happened the summer before the school year begins.
"We're definitely building out Philly a lot more. We're seeing the teachers leave and what their outside lives are a lot more than what's just in the school," James Williams reveals. "We're kind of playing with this idea that I think is almost every student's nightmare, which is seeing your teacher be a real person outside."
"We're actually going there, we're trying to texturize these characters a bit more and show they're not just their profession," he adds.
Although many people knew their favorite stars were stepping away from their projects to stand in solidarity with one another amid the strikes, their time away from the studios impacted a variety of workers. Due to the loss of income, the Abbott Elementary team supported each other financially.
"I know we had to develop a fund to support our cast and our crew as they were kind of going through this period they didn't anticipate," James Williams admits. "I was thinking about not just how uncomfortable I may be, but how uncomfortable the people around me, and therefore, the industry as a whole was, and that is what I centered on."
The actor was excited to attend the 75th Emmy Awards after such a difficult period for entertainment professionals, which is why his recent partnership was a no-brainer.
James Williams recently collaborated with Johnnie Walker to donate to the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF). The pair will invest in the ongoing work of the organization that offers assistance and care to those in the entertainment industry and their families with limited or no resources.
"When Johnnie Walker kind of came to me about donating to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, that was already attempting to kind of bridge that gap. I had been looking for something to do that anyway," he says.
"To me, it was super important, and it felt like what better time than TV coming back at the Emmys? It's like kind of the first big TV party that we're all back at since none of the shows have aired yet," he adds. "This is where we kind of all congregate before the show's premiere."