“She just asked is anyone mad at This Is Us for trying to do the exact same thing?” Shepard, 47, explained while on stage at ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, on Friday, June 3, via Deadline. The “Armchair Expert” podcast host was tickled by the audience question.
“Why is it that NBC made the exact same show after killing our show?” he pondered. “We don’t think about it and we don’t care.”
Parenthood, which aired on NBC from 2010 to 2015, followed the Braverman family, which included four adult siblings with their own children and their aging parents. The tearjerker had six seasons and 103 episodes. NBC aired six seasons of This Is Us starting in 2016 and ending in May 2022 with 106 episodes. The Emmy-winning drama had more mysteries and complicated timelines than Parenthood, but both were about the different relationships among family members and featured earnest, sentimental stories.
It’s a comparison the actor has been hearing for years now.
“Well I’m of the understanding that people love This Is Us, so it’s cool if they’re comparing it to a show that they love,” he shared during a March 2017 appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. “I have not seen it, so I don’t personally have an opinion on it. But it seems like when people say that, they tend to like both. So that’s really nice.”
The actor, who played Crosby on Parenthood, reunited with former cast mates Erika Christensen, Joy Bryant, and Monica Potter on Friday. They joined series creator Jason Katims and executive producer Lawrence Trilling on stage to discuss the beloved drama.
Katims, 61, revealed that Parenthood itself was influenced by another NBC show. “I was very much inspired by Friday Night Lights in thinking about what the show could be,” the writer, who executive produced the football show, which ran from 2006 to 2011, explained to the audience. “One thing I was enjoying about Friday Night Lights was the big ensemble cast — many, many people with different points of view. So I thought, ‘What if I did a show like that focusing on family and extended family?’ That’s how it started.”