When NBC brass unveiled its fall schedule in May, one of the big gambles was moving breakout hit This Is Us from Tuesdays to Thursdays.
At the time, NBC boss Bob Greenblatt touted the move, paired with the revival of Will and Grace and Law & Order True Crime, as the potential return of Must See TV — which is why the network took the industry by surprise when they then changed course several weeks ago and decided not to move the sophomore drama.
“We all had to look each other and say, ‘This is not in the best interest of the show,” NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said Friday at the ATX Television Festival panel for the series.
Although Salke admitted there was “some pressure” to move This Is Us and use it to build another night on the network, she said plans began to change once series creator Dan Fogelman came in to pitch her the second-season plan.
“On Thursday, we have would hit a wall with football on NBC and we would be off the air almost for two months,” she said about NBC’s commitment to Thursday Night Football, which would have taken over the 9 p.m. time slot after six new episodes.
“We have to do what’s right for a show that is grounding and incredible in every way,” Salke said. “It would be a disservice to not treat it that way.”
Instead, now This Is Us will kick off its 18-episode second season with 10 new episodes airing back-to-back weeks uninterrupted, which is part of the reason Salke said Fogelman was unable to fly to Texas for the festival.
Fogelman is hard at work with the other writers back in Los Angeles. “We’ll all be happy when we have 10 awesome episodes of the show,” Salke said.
In addition to This Is Us, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders will also move to Tuesdays, airing at 10 p.m. Meanwhile, Superstore and The Good Place will stay put on Thursdays at 8 p.m., with the Will and Grace revival and Great News following at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Chicago Fire will close out the night at 10 p.m.
Salke also dropped a somewhat vague tease about season two, saying it “will be bigger” compared to season one. She explained, “There’s a lot of things happening. The show isn’t going to settle down and get quieter.”