Here’s Why NBC Changed Its Mind About Moving This Is Us to Thursdays

Second thoughts about long hiatus for Thursday Night Football

The entire This Is Us cast celebrated the show's Thursday move with buyers at May's upfront event. Then NBC changed its mind.
NBCUniversal

The centerpiece of NBC’s fall schedule announcement and upfront event in May was its bold decision to move This Is Us, last season’s freshman sensation and Adweek’s show of the year, to Thursdays this fall, heralding the return of its vaunted Must-See TV lineup. Then, just two weeks later, the network abruptly reversed course and opted to keep the show on Tuesdays after all.

NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt explained the network’s surprise second-guessing at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in L.A.

When he and his team were finalizing their fall schedule in May, everyone agreed that moving the show to Thursdays was “a great and exciting idea,” Greenblatt said. “We thought, ‘This will just change everything.’ We all got excited about it, and [creator Dan Fogelman] was on board.”

But in the days following the announcement, execs took a closer look at the Thursday Night Football schedule, which would have interrupted the show’s run in November when NBC would have had to put it on hiatus to air its portion of those NFL games.

“We talked ourselves into: we’ll do six episodes of This Is Us, then we’ll be off for eight weeks, and maybe we’ll do a Christmas episode to keep the audience happy, and then we’ll come back on in January,” Greenblatt said.

However, after walking through the creative plan for Season 2 with Fogelman, Greenblatt said, “we all collectively agreed: maybe that interruption is not the best for the show, and let’s just move it back to Tuesday.”

Greenblatt admits he wishes the network had handled things differently.

“Maybe in hindsight we should have done more of that extensive thinking before we announced the move, but the show is where it should be,” he said. “All things considered, we’re in a good place.”