If you want a sense of just how important This Is Us to both NBC's short-term and long-term programming future, look no further than the three-season renewal the network announced back in May, which will take the hit series through a sixth season.
While the show's future was never in any way in doubt from a ratings or popularity standpoint, one reason for delaying the announcement may have had to do with series creator Dan Fogelman: his overall deal with 20th TV was ending and his new contract was only settled about a week or so before the announcement was made.
Now we're learning the identity of a new-yet-familiar face set to join the upcoming season, with Tim Matheson (Child's Play, The West Wing) in the key recurring role of Dave, Rebecca's (Mandy Moore) father. With the previous season's finale staging a time jump to Rebecca's later years, this season will explore Rebecca's backstory and the road that lead her to be the woman viewers have gotten to know – and if her father offers any clues to her suffering in the future.
Here's a look at one of the earliest previews, which really seems to be driving home Fogelman's promise of "something big" happening on the show this season – could that be the reason for the large season renewal? We know Bleeding Cool's own Tiffany Tchobanian had some initial thoughts on the matter ahead of the show's September 24 return…
Everyone has a family. And every family has a story. "This Is Us" chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as young parents in the 1980s to their 37-year-old kids Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) searching for love and fulfillment in the present day. This grounded, life-affirming dramedy reveals how the tiniest events in our lives impact who we become, and how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death. From the writer and directors of "Crazy, Stupid, Love." comes a smart, modern show that will welcome you into a family you feel you've known for years.
NBC's This Is Us also stars Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Chris Sullivan, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Ron Cephas.
This marks the second consecutive multi-year renewal: the series was previously renewed for two seasons before their freshman season was complete. As for the show's future beyond a sixth season? NBC co-chairman Paul Telegdy says the network's keeping all options on the table:
"We're keeping it open for now. Creator Dan Fogelman has a plan for the show, for now it's being picked up for three more seasons."