The 2020-2021 television season was never going to be an easy one in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Filming across the world was shut down starting in March of 2020, ending seasons early and halting production of shows meant to arrive in the fall. For broadcast sitcoms and dramas, which film as they air, premieres were delayed, and winter breaks extended. Though fans hope to see their favorites return, it’s not clear if the current return dates will hold or not. For instance, audiences are wondering, will This Is Us air on Feb. 2, 2021?
This Is Us is one of those shows deeply upended by the scheduling shifts. NBC scheduled the season holiday break from Thanksgiving to the first week of January. That meant the series only got to air four episodes in the fall before going on hiatus. Episode 5 was already in the can and ready to go when the show returned in January, giving the show a guaranteed installment for the return slot.
But Episode 6 was not. When NBC extended the holiday break by two weeks at the Los Angeles Health Department’s request to help slow the spread of the pandemic, the production was unable to finish it in time. It caused an unexpected last-minute hiatus announcement on Jan. 19, the day Episode 6 was supposed to air.
At the time, the official NBC This Is Us Twitter account put out a statement saying the series would return at the top of February. But that tweet has since been deleted. With these announcements coming last minute, as the series’ producers try to move heaven and earth to complete these episodes, fans don’t know what to expect.
Notably, Fogelman’s most recent tweet does not name a return date. It only says more episodes "soon."
With the pandemic still ravaging Los Angeles, it’s not clear if the series has been able to finish Episode 6 or not. Even if it has, it’s not clear if Episode 7 will be ready to go the week after or even if it’s worth airing one episode only to have to go back on hiatus again.
And that’s not accounting for the State of the Union. The political event forces the show to take a one-week hiatus every year, usually planned well in advance. But the pandemic also delayed scheduling the presidential address ahead of time. Even if the show is ready to return, it might get bumped all over again through no fault of its own.
Currently, fans hope to see This Is Us Season 5 Episode 6 return on Tuesday, Feb 2, at 9 p.m. on NBC. Further updates as events warrant.
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