After four years of always premiering in September, This Is Us Season 5’s schedule was upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the season arrived in late October and ran until May. It wasn’t the only show to experience something like this — not by a long shot. Many series that traditionally premiered in September (like Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19) also found themselves delayed by two months. But with tradition upended, fans have a right to wonder when This Is Us Season 6 will premiere. Will the final season return to its usual September-March schedule?
Unfortunately, that’s not in the cards. With This Is Us hitting its final run of episodes, NBC hopes to make the show’s last season an event. (And for a good reason: The 2020-2021 ratings scorecards are in, and This Is Us was once again the most popular scripted drama on broadcast TV.)
Moreover, the final season has a lot to wrap up. Not only were there multiple twists in the Season 5 finale that need answers, but according to series creator Dan Fogelman, the final season will “jump around in time” more than ever before.“We always knew that Season 6 would be ambitious in the way it jumps times, and even more ambitious than other seasons,” Fogelman told Deadline.
Fogelman believes audiences will appreciate how big the final season will go. “Because our audience has been so devoted, and I think because hopefully we smartly set up the contained areas where these future timelines live, I think you’re going to have a real sense of resolution and completion for this family,” he said.
But an ambitious season needs time and patience to pull off. To that end, This Is Us will shift from a fall season kick-off to a midseason premiere for its final run of episodes. According to The Wrap, this is partly as a gift to fans who stood by the series as Season 5 was plagued with endless stops and starts. By starting after the winter holidays, NBC execs hope to air the final 18 episodes straight through, without any of the usual pesky breaks.
As NBCU Television and Streaming’s chair of entertainment content, Susan Rovner, put it to The Wrap, “By putting it at midseason, it will have the least interruptions possible. I think it will be a great event for the fans to enjoy this incredible show.”
So, fans will have to struggle through a Pearson-less fall of 2021, but hopefully This Is Us Season 6 will be worth the wait.