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This story was originally published Wednesday, May 12 at 11:52 a.m. PDT.
This is the end for the Pearsons.
This Is Us, NBC's top-rated family drama, will officially end after the upcoming sixth season, which will have 18 episodes, NBC announced Friday. The series will take an extended hiatus before kicking off its farewell run midseason for what the network hopes will be an uninterrupted season.
The Hollywood Reporter, who was first to report the news on Wednesday, reported that an official announcement of This Is Us' final season would come Friday when NBC unveils its official 2021-22 television schedule.
News of the award-winning series' end is not a surprising development, considering speculation over its future has ramped up in recent seasons following its three-season pickup in May 2019 as creator Dan Fogelman, the writers and various cast members have hinted at a six-year plan for the series.
As recently as March, series star Milo Ventimiglia discussed the final episodes of This Is Us with ET's Lauren Zima.
"When we get to that and the whole thing has been uncovered [and] discovered, we know what the last couple episodes are and I'll say that the last couple episodes -- it's not going to be about the last moment, it really isn't about the last moment," he said. "It may be something that is beyond anything that anyone could ever dream and it may be so simple that every single human on Earth can relate to. But I know the last several episodes, they're gonna be a ride so when you've seen them all we'll have a conversation and we'll go from there."
During a February 2019 appearance on TheEllen DeGeneres Show, Ventimiglia added fuel to the fire that the series was possibly ending after season 6, following Fogelman and co-showrunnerIsaac Aptaker suggesting in a Deadline interview that they were planning to wrap the show up "about three seasons in the future." (A season 3 episode of This Is Us even featured a piece of dialogue echoing that sentiment when one of the characters said we're "only midway through the story.")
"We never know where we’re going to go. We never know what’s going to happen,” he said at the time. "The show could have a huge spike in season six and everybody wants more beyond that, but I think creatively, they have an idea of what they’d like to do to kind of wrap it up in this nice story."
"At least the audience knows, the fans know, they’re going to get three more seasons, which is nice we can commit,” Ventimiglia added. "It’s not like, will it be on? Won’t it be on? But then beyond that, yeah, maybe there will be more. I don’t know.”
Created by Fogelman, This Is Us centers on the Pearson family and their loved ones at various points of the family's history. Starring Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz and Susan Kelechi Watson, the hour-long family drama debuted in 2016 to near universal acclaim and has become an awards darling, collecting Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG Awards, Critics' Choice, NAACP Image Award and AFI Program of the Year honors. It was also nominated for a Peabody Award in 2017.