NBC scored 27 million viewers with its post-Super Bowl episode of This Is Us on Feb. 4, the best-rated episode of that show — or any other scripted NBC show since 2004, for that matter. With that kind of runaway success, there has to be a third season of the series, right?
Right. The decade-hopping family drama — starring Sterling K. Brown, Mandy Moore, Chrissy Metz, and more of your faves — will definitely return for a third season. But, what fans didn't know is that Season 3 might switch-up the format of the show. Co-showrunner Isaac Aptaker told The Hollywood Reporter that the flash-forward between Randall and Tess Pearson won't be a one-time occurrence. "We had a lot of story we wanted to tell before we got there, but now that we've visited that time, nothing's off the table and we will certainly be returning there in the future," he teased. "It's so much fun for us as writers and storytellers, getting to imagine what these people are up to 10-15 years in the future. We haven't put an exact year on it. It's just like the possibilities are endless. It opens up the show in a way. It adds this whole new color and dynamic."
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NBC made the call to continue the show more than a year ago, when the network renewed the series for Season 2 and Season 3, — each receiving an 18-episode order — before Season 1 had even finished. “We all got our wish that this is a hit show,” NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke told reporters at the time. “This Is Us is as good as anything we’ve ever had, we’re thrilled to renew it for two seasons, and there’s no doubt it will have a long life on NBC.”
You can even see cell phone footage of Jennifer giving the good news to the cast — also including Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley, Susan Kalechi Watson, Chris Sullivan, and Ron Cephas Jones — in a Twitter video filmed by This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman. Suffice it to say, the stars were astounded by the Peacock Network’s vote of confidence. (“Wait, wait,” said a stunned Chrissy. “What did you just say?”)
When the actors talked to Entertainment Weekly afterward, they were still on cloud nine. “Who’s excited for 36 more episodes of This Is Us? We’re very excited,” Milo said. “We’re going to be with you for a while.” Added Mandy, “Hope you’re not sick of us yet.”
Because the show continues to deliver amazing numbers for NBC, it’ll likely continue for however long Dan wants it to. “I know where the show goes,” the writer told reporters at the time of the renewal. “I have a number of seasons in my brain and we'll see as we get there.”
Even though that post-Super Bowl episode finally revealed how family patriarch Jack Pearson died, we still haven’t seen all the aftershocks of that pivotal moment. As Dan explained, “There's a hinge in this family, and it's a before with Jack and after. That will be interesting in future seasons as we go forward to show what that hinge was and what happened to people before and after.”
So yes, the two-season renewal means This Is Us will last until 2019, at the minimum. Translation: You’ll be inviting the Pearson family into your living rooms for a long time!