Season 5 of This Is Us will be two episodes shorter than originally planned. The full season, which was to consist of 18 episodes, will now conclude after episode 16.
This information came to light at the close of the most recent episode of the hit NBC drama. A teaser trailer revealed that the show would return on May 18th for the final three episodes.
That makes a total of 16 new episodes during a season which faced many challenges during filming.
The coronavirus pandemic pushed back the start date for new episodes of This Is Us after safety measures were put in place to ensure the health and welfare of everyone on set.
Mandy Moore also missed some tapings as she was in the final stages of pregnancy with her son Gus. She returned to work after a brief maternity break to resume her role as the matriarch of the Pearson clan, Rebecca.
What is the reason for the reduction in shows?
Entertainment Weekly reported that the pandemic is the most likely reason for the shortened season.
The season began in October 2020 with an episode that focused on The Big Three: Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown), as they celebrated their 40th birthdays.
The series aired three consecutive episodes in November before breaking for a winter hiatus until January. Two new episodes aired before the show broke for three weeks until the second week of February.
This Is Us’ current hiatus will be four weeks as they work to close out the season.
Only two episodes aired this month, the same amount in March. This totals to 11 episodes so far since Season 5’s debut.
During the promo seen above, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and her daughter Kate will have a heart-to-heart talk. Deja (Lyric Ross) encourages her father, Randall, to support his wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) rather than try to be her “hero.”
The last show of the season will air at a later start time
The last show of This Is Us’ fifth season will have a start time of 10 p.m. This change is due to The Voice season finale, which is two hours long and will air the same evening, May 25.
This Is Us’ sixth season will be its last.
NBC ordered three more seasons of the show in 2019 after its third year of episodes.
Series creator Dan Fogelman said of the end of the series to The Hollywood Reporter, “We never set out to make a television series that was going to last 18 seasons, so we have a very direct plan. I have script pages I have written and I’m writing that really are deep, deep, deep into the future. We have a plan for what we’re going to do, and I know what the plan is.”
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.