This Is Us season 4: Melanie Liburd leaving as series regular

This Is Us season 3When This Is Us season 4 airs on NBC (provided the renewal happens, as expected), it will be doing so without one of its more-noteworthy performers from season 3.

Speaking via TVLine, executive producer Isaac Aptaker confirmed that Melanie Liburd, who plays the part of Beth’s sister and Kevin’s recent love interest Zoe, will not be back as a series regular. That doesn’t mean that she is going to the show for good, but Aptaker explained that because of the direction of the story right now (Zoe did not seem interested in kids, whereas Kevin clearly wants them), they didn’t want to contractually keep her from getting other work:

“We don’t want to hold on to her and then not have the real estate for her … She’s an amazing actress and she has a ton of opportunities… We don’t want to stop her from [getting another full-time gig].”

As you would imagine, though, Aptaker also makes it abundantly clear that he would like to get Liburd back whenever the opportunity presents itself:

“Whenever there are opportunities for Zoe to come back — which [would be] pretty organic because she touches on Kevin’s life as well as, of course, Beth and Randall’s life — we’re eager to have her back… We love Melanie so much. She’s a friend of the show and she did an amazing job for us; we love her both as an actor and as a person.”

One great way to look at things right now is this: Alexandra Breckenridge was previously a regular, and the writers still found a way to bring back her character of Sophie earlier this season. There is always that flexibility on the part of the writers, provided the perfect opportunities presents itself. It’s really just all about finding a way to give these characters their proper due. Zoe’s not going to be gone from this family’s life, and it doesn’t even seem as though she and Kevin are leaving off on negative terms. She just realizes that the two of them want some different things out of their future and that is something that we’re hoping to see explored a little bit more as the story continues to churn forward in the right direction.

Do we think that we’re going to have a chance to meet a new Kevin love interest at some point, provided that Zoe doesn’t come back and she does turn out to be the mother of his kid? It’s possible, but that flash-forward timeline is so far ahead that we don’t think that there’s going to be all that much of a pressing hurry to get to that point. We feel like in season 4, the focus will be mostly still on the now, with us getting a few teases about flash-forwards along the way.

For more thoughts on the This Is Us finale…

Be sure to visit the link here! Also, let us know in the comments if you’re disappointed that Liburd is not going to be a series regular on the show moving into the future. (Photo: NBC.)

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