NBC's special post-Super Bowl telecast of This Is Us averaged a 16.2 rating in metered-market households from 10:45-11:49 p.m. ET (10:45-11:45 in the meters), making it the top-rated post-Super Bowl entertainment telecast in six years. The episode was almost as anticipated as the big game itself, finally revealing to fans exactly how Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) died on the show. While it was revealed early on in the first season that Jack died several years ago, his exact cause of death wasn't revealed until last night, with Milo Ventimiglia revealing new details about the episode. If you didn't watch the show last night and don't want to know how Jack Pearson died on this hit show just yet, there will be SPOILERS below, so read on at your own risk.
In the first season of this NBC drama series, Jack was seen rushing into his burning home, which was set ablaze due to a faulty Crock Pot, to save some priceless family artifacts and the family dog. Fans had assumed that Jack had gotten stuck in the house and perished in the flames, but last night's episode revealed that Jack did actually make it out alive, relatively unscathed, aside from some second-degree burns on his hands while also suffering from smoke inhalation. When Jack went to the hospital to get treated for his burns and smoke inhalation, the inhalation was so severe that it lead to cardiac arrest, which Jack Pearson died from. This lead to one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the whole series, which has become well-known for moments that tear at the heartstrings, where the ER doctor (Bill Irwin) tells Jack's wife Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore) that they lost her husband. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Milo Ventimiglia revealed that Mandy Moore herself didn't even know that her co-star would be laying in that hospital bed. Here's what he had to say when asked what it was like to film the death scene.
"I don't want to say a relief, but I think it was acceptance. First off, I had to lay as still as I could because poor Mandy Moore, she did not know that I was going to be laying there (in the hospital bed). She didn't know that I was going to be there. I think she thought she was walking into a blank room, and walking in on me, not knowing that the shot was also picking up my reflection, dead-still. So that was, it was a moment. And I can hear her; I'm laying there and I can hear Mandy breaking down and just crumbling, take after take after take. I wanted to give her the space and lay there, still, not moving. We even filmed bits where she would walk up to me, and I'm just laying there staring at a point on the wall, barely breathing, but having to feel her over me or near me, just losing Jack."
This Is Us soared +59% above last year's post-Super Bowl telecast (16.2 vs. 10.2 in metered-market households for Fox's Feb. 5, 2017 premiere of 24: Legacy). The 16.2 makes it the top primetime non-sports telecast since last year's Oscars (22.2 on Feb. 26, 2017) in metered-market households. It's a record rating for This Is Us in metered-market households, topping by +80% the prior record of a 9.0 for the Season 1 finale on Tuesday, March 14. Last night's special This Is Us jumped +128% above the show's season average in metered-market households (16.2 vs. 7.1). As for Jack, Milo Ventimiglia teased that even though we finally know how Jack dies, there is still much more for fans to learn about these characters.
"This is episode 14, so that's only the 32nd hour we've ever known this family. So now, if Jack died in 1998, when the kids are 17, there's still a lot to know, different sides of him, what made him, what shaped him, what inspired his romance with his wife, what happened with he and his brother in war. That we've invested as much as we have as an audience in 32 hours is pretty remarkable. There's a lot of life left in him, even in death, there's a lot of life left in Jack."
The last post-Super Bowl entertainment telecast to rate higher was NBC's Feb. 5, 2012 edition of The Voice, which scored a 20.0 in metered-market households. This Is Us will increase its viewership dramatically through DVR time-shifting and VOD. The show's prior telecast on Tuesday, Jan. 23 scored NBC's biggest lifts in measurement history going from "live plus same day" to "live plus seven day" Nielsens in both total viewers and adults 18-49. It was also the biggest 18-49 L+7 increase on any broadcast network in more than two years. The Jan. 23 episode grew by +7.099 million viewers overall (9.480 million to 16.579 million) and +2.62 rating points or +102% in adults 18-49 (from a 2.57 to a 5.19) going from L+SD to L+7. The increase of +2.62 rating points is the biggest L+7 lift for any show on any broadcast network since December 2015 (The Big Bang Theory, +2.83 on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015). You can head on over to Entertainment Weekly for their full interview with Milo Ventimiglia on Jack Pearson's death.