When the coronavirus pandemic shut down most of Hollywood in mid-march, fans of This Is Us caught a lucky break. The series had just finished principal photography on Season 4’s two-part finale, allowing the show to end the way it planned. But the return remained up in the air for many months. Finally, the series announced it would resume in mid-November, which then moved back to the end of October. Fans were ecstatic to get a two-part premiere after such a long wait. But will This Is Us air on Election Day 2020? Unfortunately, it’s taking another break.
The initial return date for This Is Us was Nov. 10 precisely to avoid this. When NBC realized filming was going well enough that the series could return earlier, it made the call to move the premiere to Oct. 27, despite knowing the series would immediately go on a one-week hiatus. Election day, Nov. 3, was always going to be a week off for the show, even if conditions had allowed the show to premiere in its usual September berth.
It is an accident of fate that NBC put This Is Us in the 9 p.m. Tuesday slot, where it has become one of the network’s biggest shows. For reasons of tradition (and Constitution) that put the series right in political coverage crosshairs. Usually, that’s confined to January/February, where the series has had to take a week off for the State of the Union or other Presidential addresses. But once every two years, it gets bumped for election night news coverage, either the Presidential or the Midterms.
The irony is the same factors that pushed This Is Us‘ release date back to the end of October will almost certainly make its one-week delay somewhat pointless. As many news outlets have noted, the pandemic has changed how people vote, and the sheer number of early voters and mail-in ballots means results will probably not come on Tuesday. But even though the election may be determined on Nov. 3, newscasts are still going wall-to-wall with coverage anyway.
That’s sad news for fans who might have hoped for a little escapism this coming Tuesday by spending it with the Pearson clan. But considering Kate’s newfound interest in protests and Randall’s position as a City Councilman, it’s a good bet they need the night off to follow politics along with the rest of us.
This Is Us Season 5 Episode 3 arrives on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at 9 p.m. on NBC.
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