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NBC renews ‘This Is Us’ for two more seasons, creator talks future

"This Is Us' " Television Critics Assn. panel included, front row from left, Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Dan Fogelman, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz and Justin Hartley, and, back row from left, Chris Sullivan, Susan Kelechi Watson and Ron Cephas Jones.
(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

Leave it to “This Is Us” to bring a twist to even the most obvious news.

NBC announced Wednesday that it was renewing its hit drama for a second — and third! — season.

The news came during the show’s panel at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena. Each of the forthcoming seasons will consist of 18 episodes.

“This show means everything to us,” NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke told reporters. She also thanked 20th Century Fox, which produces the show, for being “incredible partners.”

The decision appears to have been an easy one. The drama, which chronicles the lives of a culturally diverse family at various stages, ranks as the No. 2 drama on broadcast, behind Fox’s “Empire,” among total viewers and adults ages 18 to 49, a demographic coveted by advertisers. It has emerged as the fall’s breakout freshman drama, averaging just over 14 million viewers.

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The show’s creator, Dan Fogelman (“Tangled,” Crazy Stupid Love”), was on stage with cast members Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz and Justin Hartley when the renewal was announced. He welcomed the network’s vote of confidence when talking about his game plan for the series.

“I know where the show goes,” he said. “I have a number of seasons in my brain.”

The panel featured a teaser for next week’s episode, which explores a bit more into the death of patriarch Jack (Ventimiglia). His demise was revealed in the series premiere, but the cause and timing of it hasn’t been explored.

“Next week’s episode is a big episode,” Fogelman said, while also stressing that it’s all a matter of pacing.

“We have a while to go in the big picture,” he said. “The needle we have to continue to thread is parsing out information so it never becomes too frustrating. There’s a before and after to this family … Before Jack and After Jack. That will be really interesting in future seasons to show where that hinge was...”

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yvonne.villarreal@latimes.com

Twitter: @villarrealy

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