This Is Us Vet Justin Hartley's First Follow-Up TV Show Just Got Great News

Kevin Pearson is shown on This Is Us.
(Image credit: NBC)

Kevin Pearson’s story may have come to an end when This Is Us wrapped production following six sentimental seasons on NBC. However, Justin Hartley — the actor who played him — hopes to return to the small screen sooner rather than later. Things are certainly headed in the right direction for that, as his first post-This Is Us television endeavor, The Never Game — an adaptation of the book by Jeffrey Deaver — has been given a pilot order by CBS.

The Never Game received a pilot commitment in September 2021, with Justin Hartley also serving as executive producer with former This Is Us EP Ken Olin, per Deadline. Olin will also direct the pilot. Hartley is set to star as lone-wolf survivalist Colter Shaw, who roams the country as a “reward seeker,” TV Line reports, using his expert tracking skills to help private citizens and law enforcement solve all manner of mysteries while contending with his own fractured family. The actor expressed excitement at the opportunity to bring this character to life, as he said in a statement when the project was announced:

I couldn’t be happier that The Never Game is coming to CBS, and that Colter Shaw will be brought to life on screen soon. When I read the book, I was immediately drawn to the character and the story; developing this project with Ken has been a true labor of love. Colter is going to kick some serious ass, and I can’t wait for audiences to meet him.

Ben Winters wrote the script after replacing Michael Cooney, and the product that was delivered to CBS last week was reportedly “very well received by the network brass,” putting the project on a fast track for a pilot pickup. It sounds like Colter Shaw doesn’t have a whole lot in common with Kevin Pearson, so I can’t wait to see Justin Hartley show off more of his abilities in a post-Pearson world.

While The Never Game will mark his return to television, Justin Hartley has continued to appear in movies during and since his time on This Is Us. Kevin Pearson fans might not have even recognized Hartley behind the mustache he sported for the 2021 comedy The Exchange, and earlier this year he played Blaine, the ex-boyfriend of Rebel Wilson’s Stephanie Conway, in the Netflix comedy Senior Year

Justin Hartley is the latest alumni of the NBC comedy to announce pilots for later this year. Milo Ventimiglia is set to executive produce and star in a pilot for The Company You Keep on ABC. The actor formerly known as Jack Pearson will play Charlie, a con man who falls in love with undercover CIA agent Emma after a night together, despite the fact that their career paths are bound to collide.

Similarly, Chris Sullivan, who played Toby on This Is Us, will star in the ABC pilot The Son in Law, in which Jake (Sullivan), a divorced plumbing contractor, has to convince girlfriend Asha’s sophisticated and wealthy parents that he is good enough to marry their daughter.

While we wait to see what happens with these projects, fans who aren’t yet ready to move on from the Pearson family saga can still stream all six seasons of This Is Us with a subscription to Hulu, and keep an eye on our 2022 TV Schedule for all of the upcoming television premieres.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.