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‘This Is Us’ Creator Dan Fogelman on Surprise Reveals and Emotional Drama in Cynical Times – IndieWire’s TURN IT ON Podcast

IndieWire's "Turn It On" podcast interviews Fogelman, plus features takes on female TV directors and a review of Amazon's "One Mississippi."

Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia, “This Is Us”


“This Is Us” is a priority launch this fall for NBC, if the number of promos that aired during the Summer Olympics is any indication. From the moment the show was announced in May, its trailer has been a hit on social media (disrobed star Milo Ventigmilia didn’t hurt).

A series about how the lives of a group of people who share the same birthday intersect, “This Is Us” includes a big reveal at the end of its first episode. Creator Dan Fogelman (“Galavant”) told IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON” podcast that he was taken aback by the amount of discussion about that surprise – and that the secret hasn’t been ruined for most viewers.

Dan Fogelman and Mandy Moore, "This Is Us"

Dan Fogelman and Mandy Moore, “This Is Us”


“I find myself talking like a politician,” he said. “I’m saying a lot of words but none of it makes any sense… I didn’t expect this show to get as much attention as it has pre-launch. If you come in completely blind to this show and watch it with no idea what its about, the surprise will knock you over.”

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST: ‘Son of Zorn’ Producers Have Made Their Non-Traditional Animated/Live-Action Comedy As Traditional As Possible

But, Fogelman added, the series isn’t based on that premise alone. “What we’re doing in series with the show is going to really surprise people,” he said. “Structurally, it’s very different.”

Susan Kelechi Watson and Sterling K. Brown, "This Is Us"

Susan Kelechi Watson and Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”


Listen to this week’s episode of “TURN IT ON” as Fogelman discusses the challenges and rewards of creating a show that’s a rarity right now in drama: A relationship series that’s not dark and doesn’t revolve around a franchise. Also: He reveals how “This Is Us” landed suddenly-hot actor Sterling K. Brown after “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

READ MORE: How Do You Create a TV Industry That Supports Women Directors? You Try

Also in this episode: Liz Shannon Miller discusses the state of female directors on television – and who’s making an effort to increase representation behind the lens. And Ben Travers stops by to talk about Amazon’s new Tig Notaro series “One Mississippi.”

IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now in TV – no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. Each episode features interviews with producers, reviews, essays on the latest buzz and trends, plus a roundup of what’s premiering and what’s returning over the coming week. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.

Be sure to subscribe to “TURN IT ON” on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday.

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