“This Is Us” getting an early pickup is expected; what’s a surprise is the double renewal, for two seasons of 18 episodes each. However, the show ranks as the top new network series of the season, and sealed the year with three Golden Globes nominations, including a best drama nod in the highly-competitive category — the first for NBC in 10 years.
Created by Dan Fogelman, “This Is Us” stars Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan, Ron Cephas Jones. The family ensemble, which jumps through different years, is about the intertwining lives and connections of several people who all share the same birthday and so much more than anyone would expect.
By just about any metric, “This Is Us” is a genuine hit for NBC. It’s averaging a 2.6 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and 9.56 million total viewers just in Nielsen’s Live-plus-Same Day ratings — it generally adds on another 2.0 in the demo and 5 million viewers once viewing within seven days is counted, and around four tenths of a point in the “C3” ratings that matter to advertisers. In fact, it’s the only show the network has ever had that’s built on the audience coming out of “The Voice,” and has continued doing so. The Nov. 30 episode actually surpassed “Empire” — considered the barometer of “hit”-dom these days — when viewing within three days was counted.
The freshman breakout was one of the first shows to land a full-season order with a total of 18 episodes.
In her first review of the pilot, Variety critic Sonia Soraiya applauded the cast and noted the appeal of the show’s “unabashedly emotional drama done right.” She wrote that the dramedy “manages to both craft an intimate series of portraits and stitch them together,” allowing “the viewer to marvel at the beauty and mystery of life — at the surprising little grace notes of fate and commonality that bind us together — while getting to know the major characters and their difficulties.”
“This Is Us” has always been a hot project — even before it was greenlit. It was one of the first projects to emerge for the 2016-2017 TV season when it was developed off-cycle, landing a pilot order early in the development cycle in Sept. 2015.
The early double renewal is a strong sign of support in the series from NBC, which has been known to pickup successful shows well before the typical pre-Upfront renewal season in May — last year, the network renewal fall 2015’s breakout hit “Blindspot” for a second season in November.
Fogelman created “This Is Us” and serves as executive producer, along with Jess Rosenthal, Charlie Gogolak, plus John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, who directed the pilot. “This Is Us” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
Oriana Schwindt contributed to this report.