Comcast NBCUniversal: Authenticity and Diversity Built 'This Is Us'

Comcast NBCUniversal is No. 19 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list

(Originally published in Comcast Diversity)

Kay Oyegun is a Nigerian-American TV writer and one of the storytellers behind NBC’s heartfelt primetime drama, “This Is Us.” Oyegun shares her thoughts on why “This Is Us” resonates with diverse audiences across the country.

One of the main reasons people have embraced “This Is Us” is because the Pearson family’s story is universal. Their joys and struggles from the birth of a child, to financial difficulties, to career wins, to challenges with weight loss are so relatable.

The vision for “This Is Us” started with our show’s creator, Dan Fogelman. He wanted to see a version of America that he felt was missing from mainstream media one that he understood and related to through his own experiences growing up in suburban New Jersey. He saw an opportunity to bring a new structure to primetime TV, by building a cast of authentic, multi-dimensional characters who act, talk, and look like real people.

Kay Oyegun

Dan was very intentional about creating something different, starting from the pilot episode. He knew that, if he wanted to create compelling storylines that connected with diverse audiences, he needed diverse voices at the table throughout the creative process. That’s where we came in.

Only a team as diverse as ours could create the touching storylines on “This Is Us” that have resonated with viewers across the country. I am proud to work with a group of ethnically and gender diverse writers who each bring an authentic and distinct voice to our show.

Together, we approach the show from a place of genuine love and desire to authentically develop our characters and their stories. Our creative process is rooted in humanity and truth. We ask each other: “What would Kevin do What would Jack do What would Rebecca do What would Randall do” Each character is so different, and their storylines are crafted in a way that is unique and specific to who they are, which is directly reflected in how they behave and in what they say. So they feel like real people rather than fictional characters.

In writing the first season, we knew that we had something special, and that the show would connect with people who were patient and excited to watch a character-driven narrative on TV. But we have been blown away by the overwhelming response from viewers who see themselves in the Pearsons.

We’ve created a story where audiences can engage with the hardships, and celebrate the victories, of complex characters in a way that is truly universal, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Dan’s creative vision, and our team’s commitment to bringing it to life, validates the advice I give to budding creative professionals: Whatever excites you, write it, create it, and it will find a home.

Read more stories regarding diversity in the workplace in “On Diversity” Comcast NBCUniversal’s D&I newsletter.

Learn about career opportunities at Comcast NBCUniversal

Latest News

Syracuse University campus

News Roundup: TV Diversity, Syracuse Hire, and Segregated Training

Check out our news roundup of diversity and inclusion updates and insights from across the U.S.: Syracuse University Creates Athletics Diversity Position  While most colleges and universities around the county are making COVID-19-related cuts in regard to their athletic departments, Syracuse University has hired Salatha T. Willis as the associate athletic…

What Friends Tell Friends: Choose Kaiser Permanente

Originally published on Integrated, nonprofit health plan tops NICE Satmetrix customer experience benchmark study for 10th straight year. For the 10th year in a row, more people would recommend Kaiser Permanente to a friend or colleague than any other health plan in the nation, according to the recently released…

Cesar Conde

NBCUniversal Sets Ambitious 50% Diversity Goal for Women, People of Color

Cesar Conde, chairman at NBCUniversal News Group, announced a groundbreaking goal to have a 50% diverse workforce at NBCUniversal, according to Deadline. Conde, the first Latino in this role, outlined his plans in an internal video for employees on Wednesday. The ultimate goal is for NBCUniversal, No. 7 on DiversityInc’s 2020…

Nielsen and SKY Ninja + WhyteSpyder Combine Tools to Empower Walmart Suppliers to Optimize Online Content and Performance

Originally published on Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) Global Connect and industry-leading e-commerce experts SKU Ninja + WhyteSpyder announced today a joint effort to help Walmart suppliers optimize their content on As SKU Ninja + WhyteSpyder joins Nielsen’s Connect Partner Network, this strengthened relationship will deliver a powerful new solution…

Mastercard Expands to the U.S. & Canada, Delivering a Search Tool That Identifies What Stores Near You Are Open for Business

Originally published on Search solution complements new Digital Acceleration for Small Business global initiative which helps small businesses advance digitally and drive online commerce As businesses seek to draw customers back both in store and online, Mastercard is introducing new tools to support them. Today, Mastercard announced the geographic…