There is less This Is Us to go around.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the fifth season of the hit NBC family drama will now just be 16 episodes long instead of the original 18. It has also been confirmed by NBC that the show will return May 11.
The season has been shortened due to the pandemic. Like several other shows airing during the 2020-2021 filming season, This Is Us has had to contend with COVID precautions, which caused filming to stop several times. The precautions led to the series starting late last fall. Entertainment Weekly reports that the series will take a four week-hiatus "to start building up a reserve of episodes to finish the season."
Despite the delays, fans of the series have been privy to the Pearson family's ups and downs, including Randall (Sterling K. Brown) learning more about his birth mother and his reconciliation with his brother Kevin (Justin Hartley). The season has also talked at length about police brutality and how it's affected the Pearson family, who are white except for Randall, his wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and their children.
“Whatever pain, whatever frustration, whatever confusion there is, there is room and space for conversation with [a child's] parents," he said. “And I think that is a very healthy and necessary thing. Because if you don't talk to them through it, they're going to figure it out on their own, whether it be peer groups or YouTubers and all this other stuff. So I'm happy we have a space reflected on the show as well--if they have questions, concerns, thoughts, we can get through this as a family."
The This Is Us finale is set for May 25 and will air at 10/9c to make way for The Voice, which airs the same night.