This Is Us is the gift that keeps on giving for NBC.
According to Rise boss Jason Katims, the success of the emotionally-charged hit drama about the Pearson family has helped pave the way for other character-driven dramas, like his upcoming midseason entry.
Rise follows Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor) as he takes over his local struggling high school drama department and inspires a group of students, played by Moana’s Auli’i Cravalho and Damon J. Gillespie, among others, who are struggling to find their place in the world as they come of age.
“Having a show like This Is Us that had the success that its had has cleared the path in a way for doing shows like Rise, shows that are very character-driven and have a deep emotional core to them and are ultimately just shows about people,” executive producer Jason Katims told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour Tuesday.
Katims was also behind NBC’s Parenthood and Friday Night Lights, both of which were also character-driven dramas. “Those are shows that not only appeal to me as a viewer, they’re also the kinds of stories I’d like to tell,” he says. “Having shows like This Is Us has helped that. To be on the network with This Is Us and have our first episode air after their finale is an incredible opportunity for us.”
Each season, the show will tackle a new production the drama department is putting on, with Spring Awakening as the first. “I was really attracted to Spring Awakening because it was a story about teenagers,” Katims says, explaining that subsequent productions would speak to what issues the kids are currently dealing with. “I really wanted this to be a show that as you watched it, yes you were amazed by seeing the acting and singing, but also that you really connected to them through what was going on in their lives… so that it would relate on another level.”
Rise, also from Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller, will begin with a special preview episode following the season finale of This is Us on Tuesday, March 13 at 10 p.m. It will move to its regular 9 p.m. time slot the following week, March 20. Watch the show’s trailer here.