There's a weekly tradition during the TV season since 2016. It involves Tuesday nights at 9 p.m., a box of tissues, and tweeting with the hashtag #ThisIsUs, as America sobs along to the story of the Pearson clan. But this week sees an interruption to this weekly sobfest, even though Season 4 is directly in the middle of a Pearson Big Three Trilogy. Fans need to know, why This Is Us airing on Feb. 4. Blame politics.
This Is Us has had bad luck over the years when it comes to political interruptions. Part of this is due to where NBC scheduled it. Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET is an excellent slot, with a lead-in from The Voice, and little competition. But American political events also wind up scheduled on Tuesdays. National voting day for both the presidential election and the midterms occur on the first Tuesday in November. And the State of the Union occurs on a Tuesday, at the end of January/beginning of February.
That means This Is Us gets bumped from NBC for a week every year at this time. In other years — 2017 and 2019, to be exact — it's been bumped twice when President Trump has decided to make an extra televised announcement to the nation. Thankfully, so far this year, there's just the one interruption: The State of the Union, airing on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
But it does mean "A Hell of a Week Part 3," which is dedicated to Kate, will be delayed by a week.
But fans should keep something else in mind while watching anything other than the State of the Union that interrupted their favorite show. Unlike the last-minute speech on the border crisis in 2019 or Trump's address to a joint session of Congress back in 2017, the SOTU is a known event, planned in advance. NBC and This is Us have known for months that this week was an enforced week off. And yet, they scheduled this Big Three Trilogy to land precisely here, so that the week off would delay Kate's episode.
It suggests something significant is brewing for the show's return. Fans already know Randall and Kevin are heading towards a falling out. That suggests there are some major reveals in this Kate-centric hour that will lead directly to the upcoming family fight.
At least everyone has a week to go buy more tissues.
This Is Us returns to NBC on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at 9 p.m. ET.