February 23, 2020

‘This Is Us’ Returns: Dan Fogelman Reveals What to Expect

THIS IS US - Season: 3 - Chris Sullivan as Toby, Chrissy Metz as Kate Pearson, Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson, Justin Hartley as Kevin Pearson, Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson, Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth Pearson (Photo by: NBC)

After a nearly two-month hiatus, “This Is Us” returns to NBC Jan. 14 for the second half of its fourth season that has a lot of drama in store for the Pearson clan. The first three episodes will focus individually on Randall, Kevin and Kate—starting with Randall— in a story that focuses on his mental health issues. The first episode features guest appearances by Sophia Bush and John Legend, who debuts a new song.

“Later in the season we have some great guest stars involved in Randall’s very intense storyline,” series creator Dan Fogelman told the Journal at the Television Critics Association press tour. Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”) is among them. “She plays a limited but very important role in his story.”

Ron Cephas Jones (William) and Timothy Omundson (Gregory) will be back, and there will be an answer to the question of the identity of the mother of Kevin’s child “by the end of the season,” Fogelman said.

While he declined to say how many more seasons are left, there is definitely a finite number. “The plan that has existed since the beginning is still the plan. I know how the show ends, what season, how many episodes,” he said. “It’s not going to stay on forever because the timelines don’t lend themselves to that.

“The big strokes have been plotted out for years. We feel very strongly that we have a plan and we want to execute it,” he continued. “We could easily make more seasons of the show because there’s enough material, but we want to make it airtight and focus on the most complicated moments of these people’s lives. We know there’s a very limited shelf life and time that we get to do this so we’re throwing our all into it.”

Fogelman has no plans to do a spinoff once the show ends, but he is thinking about other projects. His company will announce a few new shows in the coming weeks that are “very different” from “This Is Us.” “I think it would be a mistake to make stuff that lives in the same territory while ‘This Is Us’ is still on,” he said.