As the creator of Parenthood and one of the biggest voices on the Friday Night Lights creative team, Jason Katims knows quite a bit about delivering top-notch TV, and his brand new NBC drama Rise will soon hit the grand stage, i.e. our televisions. During the show's panel at the TCA winter press event, Katims was asked if he thought NBC's mega-hit This Is Us and similar programs helped to bring Rise to the small screen, Katims was agreeable.
Absolutely. I think having a show like This Is Us have the success that it's had has kind of cleared the path, in a way, for doing shows like Rise and shows like that, I feel, that are very character-driven and have a piece of emotional core to them, and are ultimately just shows about people. Those definitely are shows that not only appeal to me as a viewer, but also the kinds of stories I like to tell. So I think having shows like This Is Us has helped that, and then also to be on the network with This Is Us and to be launched and have our first episode air after their finale is also an incredible opportunity for us.
Now, all of that isn't to say that Rise couldn't or wouldn't have successfully gotten developed for TV had This Is Us not existed. Based on author Michael Sokolove's Drama High, Rise is perhaps not the most traditional story, but it tells of a passionate and dedicated high school teacher, Josh Radnor's Lou Mazzuchelli, who lit a fire beneath his town whenever he took over his school's dwindling theater department and turned it into a hub of excitement, not only for the school population itself, but for the entire blue-collar town. Audiences love watching feel-good stories but considering how heavy TV's anti-hero vibe has been in recent years, it basically took This Is Us' existence to remind us that it's still fun to watch heartwarming stuff, too. (That's obviously a vague generalization, but still.)
Considering NBC is quite fond of musicals and performance-based programming, Rise is a natural fit, although we're not quite sure just how much theatrics and performing will be seen. Still, a project like that can't automatically be considered a surefire success on any network, though it definitely helps to smooth over predictions whenever there's a similarly heartfelt show on the same network. In that respect, NBC is making a brilliant move by introducing viewers to Rise in the immediate aftermath of This Is Us's Season 2 finale, which is sure to bring in many millions of viewers. (Especially if the Jack mystery is finally solved.)
I think it's worth pointing out that, while Rise may owe something to This Is Us, the latter series itself might not be around had Parenthood not also told uplifting family stories for seven years on NBC. That show only ended a couple of years ago, and people are already clamoring for a revival to happen, so if we're lucky, then we'll see Jason Katims delivering another emotionally poignant series for
Developed by Jason Katim and Jeffrey Seller, Rise stars the aforementioned Josh Radnor, Rosie Perez, Damon J. Gillespie, Auli'i Cravalho, Shirley Rumierk and more, with Stranger Things' Shannon Purser in a recurring role.