Premiering on NBC in September of 2016– following what felt like six months of hype-building commercials– This Is Us was an immediate hit that resonating with millions of viewers looking for a TV show with heart. The show follows a family through three different eras as they navigate personal and social issues including adoption, divorce, racism, weight struggles, mental illness, and just about anything else a TV show can throw at viewers to make them happy, sad, and angry cry.
This Is Us has a dynamite cast that mixes existing superstars (Mandy Moore), established TV vets (Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley), and actors in their breakout roles (Chrissy Metz, Susan Kelechi Watson). Creator Dan Fogelman adds This Is Us to an impressive resume that already included writing the screenplays for Cars, Tangled, and Crazy, Stupid, Love, as well as creating such varied TV shows as the fantasy comedy Galavant. All of that talent has come together to create a show that already feels like an institution only two seasons in.
Of course, even the most wholesome, family-focused of shows aren’t without their closeted skeletons. Here are 15 Dark Secrets You Didn’t Know About This Is Us.
15. Forced Cliffhangers before every Christmas hiatus
TV show seasons aren’t what they used to be. Once upon a time, basically every TV show started in the fall and ended in late spring, and those two times are when major cliffhangers were started and resolved.
These days, series start and stop at all different times of the year, and shows go on hiatus at different– and for longer– times than they used to. Mid-season breaks are extremely common now, and for most shows that break happens just before Christmas. In the case of This Is Us, the show’s writers are charged with having the last episode before each Christmas break be a cliffhanger that leaves fans eagerly awaiting the show to return the following year.
So much for the goopy, semi-disposable “Christmas episodes” of TV shows past.
14. The cast banded together for a raise very early on
Typically, actors on TV shows don’t start angling for higher paychecks until their shows have been on the air for several seasons. Traditionally, actors are signed to six-season contracts, and that’s why so many TV show casts get massive pay raises after six years on the air – because it’s finally contract renewal time. In the case of the This Is Us cast, they didn’t wait six seasons. In fact, they barely waited two.
Following huge ratings of the show’s second season premiere, the cast got together and demanded “huge” pay increases to reflect the success of the show. Considering those raises only amounted to the top-paid cast members getting $80K per episode, it definitely feels as though they were being underpaid for their parts on a massively successful show.