Could ‘This Is Us’ Have Been a Hit at Fox?

This Is Us, GG2017.NOMS, season 1
Ron Batzdorff/NBC
THS IS US -- "Pilgrim Rick" Episode 108 -- Pictured: (l-r) Lonnie Chavis as 8 year old Randall, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Parker Bates as 8 year old Kevin, Mackenzie Hancsicsak as 8 year old Kate, Mandy Moore as Rebecca.

In Wednesday’s Fox executive session at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, Chairman and CEO Gary Newman acknowledged This Is Us was pitched to studio 20th Century Fox by Dan Fogelman and they faced a decision about which network to shop it to. (Fogelman also created freshman drama Pitch for Fox last fall.)

When asked about any lessons that may have been learned from the show’s success (and not having picked it up to air on Fox), Newman explained, “the main programming lesson to be learned from This Is Us is to let your writers tell a personal story. Dan’s talked about how this story is based on his family, some of the characters inspired by his siblings and others.”

Newman added, “we thought about that a lot last year when Dan came in with that project. We have made a commitment to our writers at our studio that we are going to give them the greatest chance to succeed. When we read that script we just felt that tonally it was a show that seemed consistent with Parenthood and Friday Night Lights that NBC had some real success with that…..ultimately, we went ahead and made that show for [NBC] and the results are we have the number one new show on television at our studio. This Is Us is going to be a lucrative, important for us to live in our library for the rest of time.”