(NEW YORK) — Sunday’s special post-Super Bowl telecast of This Is Us, in which fans finally saw the demise of Milo Ventimiglia’s Jack, was the most-watched drama on any network since the 2008 post-Big Game telecast of House on Fox.
This Is Us averaged 27 million viewers — nearly unheard of numbers for a network show now, considering streaming and other audience-siphoning entertainment options. For NBC, the family drama was the most-watched scripted show in more than 13 years, going back to the installment of ER that followed the finale of Friends.
The poignant This Is Us episode centered on Ventimiglia’s character; last year, fans were shocked to learn he suffered an untimely death, and Sunday night’s episode finally showed how. Since This Is Us intertwines the past and present, it continues to show how Jack Pearson’s life — and death — reverberates through the years.
Chris Sullivan, who plays Toby, tells ABC Radio the actor is the linchpin among a cast of award-winning actors: “Milo Ventimiglia is our patriarch of the cast, and of the family on the show.”
Sullivan says of the former star of Heroes and Gilmore Girls, “This will be his third monster hit television show. He understands how to connect with people through this medium.”
Sunday, Sullivan was one of those millions tuning in to This Is Us. “The interesting part about the show, is the way it is structured, in all these different storylines, [is] we’re not there to see it shot all the time. So when we watch the show, we all get to watch as fans of the show. And for me as an actor and an actor and an artist, it’s a masterclass.”
This Is Us returns tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern time on NBC.
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