Could This Is Us Have Gone More Than 6 Seasons? The Creator Opens Up About What Really Happened With The NBC Show

This Is Us cast.
(Image credit: NBC)

Viewers said goodbye to the Pearsons in This Is Us’ emotional but narratively simple finale, which took a break from series’ trademark plot twists and timeline misdirects to show a somber Big Three giving unheard eulogies at the funeral of Rebecca Pearson. Creator Dan Fogelman had mapped out the saga’s ending years ago, allowing him to create mysteries and plant ideas that would pay off down the road. But did it have to end so soon? Fogelman opened up about the conversations he had with NBC about the possibility of This Is Us lasting longer than six seasons.

Dan Fogelman decided pretty early on that This Is Us would end after a sextet of seasons. For one thing, he was working with child actors playing Kate, Randall and Kevin at different ages, so his time to capture those characters at specific points in their lives without puberty taking over was already limited. He told EW that despite initially agreeing with NBC to do six seasons, the network did approach him about extending the story due to the drama’s primetime success:

As the show was getting successful, I recognized there was going to be commercial reasons to continue it for as long as possible, and I held firm to the plan. I was pretty clear [in season 3]: 'If you pick it up for another three seasons, I'll commit my life to doing this for that amount of time, and then that will be it.'

You mean we could have had more This Is Us? There are definitely stories I would have loved to see more of, like the development of Kate and Phillip’s relationship or anything having to do with Jack and Rebecca’s grandchildren. Damn you, Fogelman! 

I’m just kidding with that damning, of course, because without the creator standing firm on his six-season limit, he wouldn’t have been able to plan all those delicious relationship twists. Without knowing when the show was going to end, he wouldn’t have been able to tell the story he wanted to tell. Dan Fogelman said NBC execs were never pushy about asking him to go longer, but they did let him know they were open if he changed his mind:

The conversations were flattering, and they were never forceful. They were always delivered with the right tone, which was like, 'We know what you said, but we're checking in.' And there have been moments where I was like, 'Oh God, I love these people I'm working with.' But you have to stick to the plan. The only thing that's kept us afloat all these years was knowing where we were going.

This Is Us was unquestionably quality over quantity, and fans are surely happy to have gotten what they did from six seasons. It’s interesting to know he might have been tempted to change his plan, but the end result is a good indication he made the right choice. Not everything about how he mapped out the timeline was perfect, however — he said he had one regret — but he insists ending it when it did was the right thing to do:

As much as I'm going to miss these people, I do believe it was the right decision for the show with every part of my being.

This Is Us fans are unquestionably sad to see the story end, but as hard as it is to admit, I’d rather them leave us wanting more than forcing a less-than-ideal story or having to worry that the little Big Three actors were getting too big. If you’re ready to move on from This Is Us’ final chapter, be sure to check out the 2022 TV Schedule to see what shows are coming up soon that you can jump on board with.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.