With NBC’s powerhouse drama This Is Us still dominating the ratings, it seems inconceivable to imagine a time when it might not be around. But fans may have the face that reality sooner rather than later — in an interview with Deadline, showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Dan Fogelman dropped a bomb about the longevity of their tearjerker. When will This Is Us potentially end?
Per Aptaker, the show already has a finale planned, and as of right now, it will happen “about three seasons in the future.” Given the series is currently in its third season, we can reasonably deduce that This Is Us could be drawing to a close after its sixth season.
“From day one, Dan came in with his master plan for the big picture stuff of the show and said, ‘I think this is where we end up. I think this is what I know. Let’s figure out the rest together,’” Aptaker told Deadline. “So all of the writers and the actors really know everything. We’re all pretty good at keeping secrets by now, it’s been three years, but it’s a total open book for everyone who works on the show, so there are no secrets from each other.”
Fans surely won’t be happy to hear the show may potentially end so soon, possibly pointing to long-running TV series such as Grey’s Anatomy and Law & Order: SVU as ammunition in the argument that super-popular shows can have an extremely long shelf-life.
However, This Is Us focuses on only one family as opposed to an anthology of new characters each week, and the showrunners likely don’t want to dilute the power of that family by prolonging the series past its envisioned arc.
According to Aptaker, it’s the hope of the showrunners that when it comes time for This Is Us to end, fans will feel fulfilled.
“I would hope that it’s elegant,” he said. “That’s what we’re going for. I would hope that when we reach our ending, people think it’s a really satisfying end place, that makes sense, and it feels like they’ve watched something that is a complete piece of work because that’s really how we’re trying to plan it. Almost like you would a book, or a super-long movie. We’ve had this end in mind for a long time, so we’re able to plan for it, and try to make it feel like it’s a whole, as opposed to a series that’s going to go endlessly.”
As for what fans can look forward to in the meantime, Fogelman says there’s hopeful stuff (thank goodness!) on the horizon.
“We’ve got multiple seasons mapped out,” he revealed. “I think this season has been a lot about redemption, but also a lot of rebirth. Next season is a season of new beginnings and restarts.”