The coronavirus pandemic has utterly upended the 2020-2021 TV year. Between shutdowns, filming delays, and schedule changes, there's been a struggle to maintain some semblance of normality, especially for weekly broadcast dramas. This Is Us is not exempt from this. The series has been off and on throughout Season 5, mostly due to COVID-related issues. So, is COVID yet again the reason This Is Us isn't airing on March 30, 2021? It's not totally clear.
Despite how stop-and-start the season has been since it premiered in October 2020, every one of these breaks has had a reason. The one-week break after the two-hour premiere was due to Election Day. The hiatus at Thanksgiving was the usual December break the show always takes. The three-week pause after the show returned in January was due to a spike in coronavirus cases in California. The two-week break after Episode 9 was the show's initially planned stopping point between the two halves of the season.
In this case, the one-week break was already a known thing before the show returned with Episode 10 (titled "I've Got This"). Showrunner Dan Fogelman warned fans on Twitter when the show returned at the top of March that the series would air four episodes over the next five weeks.
The good news for fans is that the show isn't stopping because of an enforced break due to the pandemic. Fogelman's phrasing makes it sound like the series has gotten back on track and has episodes banked to last until mid-April. At that point, the series will be 3/4 of the way through, with 13 of 18 planned episodes aired.
Whether that also means an April break will be heading this way remains to be seen. Like the winter holidays, the broadcast TV season usually takes a short spring hiatus in mid-April. That hasn't affected This Is Us in the past because the 18-episode season has always ended by then, giving way to spring season debuts like Council of Dads and Rise. But with all the delays and This Is Us running until May, this may not be the last time the show takes a break.
This Is Us Season 5 returns with Episode 12, "Both Things Can be True," on April 6 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.