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Parenthood is returning for a fifth season on NBC, but the lineup will look a little bit different, thanks to at least one fan favorite actor moving on to a new project. Even though Mark Ritter is leaving the series, most of the main cast and a few newish characters will be back for the new storylines, and on Friday it was announced that Matt Lauria will absolutely be returning to the show.
In Parenthood, Lauria plays Ryan, a war veteran who initially befriends Zeek. After Zeek brings him to a few family events, Ryan and Amber hit it off, proceeding to become emotionally tangled over the remainder of Season 4. Parenthood’s always been particularly good about leaving recurring characters’ storylines open for upcoming seasons, just in case they get signed on for another series or decide to move on.
In Lauria’s case, Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims seemed excited about signing on the young actor to return for a story arc in the new season. Back in June, the budding star noted that he and Katims were in talks for Season 5. Additionally, Lauria seemed game to keep the romance alive between Amber and himself.
“We don’t know what the details are going to be. But Jason recently asked me, ‘Are you up for it?’ and I told him, ‘I’m up for it!’ And since then, there have been some conversations back and forth between my manager and [higher ups].”
TV Line got the details on Friday, finding out that Lauria will actually be joining the Braverman clan on the show for a good chunk of the season. No specific episode count has been determined, yet, but Lauria is expected to appear in over half of the Season 5 episodes—which is especially great news, considering Season 5 earned an extended episode count for the upcoming season. This year’s episode count will be a full 22 episodes, instead of the 13-18 episode order the show generally gets.
Lauria isn’t the only recurring actor who is set to return next season. Besides Ryan, Ray Romano is set to reprise his role as Hank, the new love interest for Amber’s mom, Sarah. His return should be a little more difficult to explain than Lauria’s since we last saw him when he was moving to Minnesota to be nearer his teen daughter. Like Lauria, Romano is slated for 12-15 episodes in Season 5.
Parenthood frequently revolves around the love interests of its characters, but I’m particularly excited about Lauria’s return, as it has been nice to see Amber really come of age and start to get her act together regarding relationships, as well as treating herself better than she has in the past. Amber and Ryan may not end up panning out, but I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.
Parenthood returns to NBC’s schedule on Thursday, September 26 at 10 p.m. ET.