The coronavirus pandemic has utterly upended the 2020-2021 TV year. Between shutdown, filming delays, and pushbacks, there’s been a struggle to maintain some semblance of normality, especially for weekly broadcast dramas. Some have lent into it, like Grey’s Anatomy. Like This Is Us, others have done their best to put out episodes week after week but keep running into issues, including the latest one-week hiatus at the end of March. So why isn’t This Is Us airing on March 30, 2021?
Despite how stop-and-start the show has been since it premiered in October of 2020, everyone one of these breaks has a reason. The one-week break after the two-hour premiere was 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’s "The Ride" 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’s "I’ve Got This." Showrunner Dan Fogelman warned fans on Twitter when the show returned at the top of March that the series has four episodes ready to go, which would populate out over the next five weeks.
The good news for fans is 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 or not 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, 2021, at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
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