Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a major This Is Us fan. Since its debut in 2016, not a week goes by where I don’t watch the show live on Tuesday’s 9/8c on NBC. Not only has This Is Us been the emotional gut-punch each week for four seasons driven by the authentic writing, engaging and relatable storylines and the captivating acting of its large ensemble cast, it’s been a beacon of hope for broadcast dramas. It continues to be the one of the highest-rated series on television, even as viewer erosion continues across the broadcast networks. It’s also been the only network show that continues to earn awards recognition from all the major awards shows, including the Emmy Awards.
Out of the gate, This Is Us was a serious Emmy contender, earning 10 nominations for its freshman season in 2017, including wins in Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Sterling K. Brown and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for Ron Cephas Jones. That same year, This Is Us became the first network drama series to earn an Outstanding Drama Series Emmy nomination since The Good Wife in 2011. In 2018, This Is Us also earned another 8 nominations, while adding 1 more Emmy nomination in 2019, for a total of 9.
This Is Us has been a steady Emmy nominee for the past three years, never giving me any indication to bet against it. I’m wondering if 2020 will change things? As I’m compiling my Emmy predictions list this week, I realize I’m one predicting one actor from the ensemble from the cast to earn an Emmy nomination – Sterling K. Brown for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. I’m also predicting it for Outstanding Drama Series. Over the past 2 seasons, it’s seemed to get more of its principal cast nominated. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia haven’t missed a nomination in the past three years. Ron Cephas Jones has been nominated twice, once for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2017) and Guest Actor in a Drama Series (2018), winning in 2018. Chrissy Metz has been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2017 and 2019, and last year it Mandy Moore and Chris Sullivan were nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress and Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, respectively. That doesn’t include its guest nominations including Phylicia Rashad, Bryan Tyree Henry, Denis O’Hare and Gerald McRaney, who prevailed with his first career win in 2017.
This begs the question of why I took the time to write this piece. Why am I not predicting a big Emmy year for This Is Us cast? As I mentioned earlier, I’m only predicting Brown and the series to earn nominations, not Metz, not Moore, not Sullivan, not Ventimiglia, not Justin Hartley or Susan Kelechi Watson – who by the way, are both overdue to earn a nomination for the show – what’s going on? By no means does this means my support for the show has diminished, or quality has decreased – quite the opposite. I just have a sinking feeling that there’s big influx of contenders this year competing in all the drama races across the board, and since This Is Us is a broadcast show, it can easily be discarded in lieu cable or streaming shows, which are deemed “more prestige” than anything that ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC or The CW can deliver. This doesn’t mean that This Is Us won’t continues its steady Emmy streak into the 2020 awards ceremony, I’m just not confident it will be. Believe me, I hope I’m wrong! I sincerely hope it maintains, and grows in Emmy nominations this year, nothing would make me happier! But I wouldn’t be surprised if the opposite happens.
Emmy nominations will be announced Tuesday, July 28th and it’ll be interesting to see what happens with This Is Us.
Follow me on Twitter @TVTalkWithJWalk