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Touchdown for 'Friday Night Lights'

April 2, 2008 | 10:59 am

    Are your ready for some more Dillon Panthers football?
    “Friday Night Lights” will be back for a third season, thanks to a deal between NBC and DirecTV that splits costs and distribution rights, giving DirecTV customers first dibs at the high school football drama, starring Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton.
    The 13-episode season will air first on DirecTV in the fall and then run on NBC in midseason, probably in its current Friday night time slot, said David Nevis, president of Imagine Television, which produces the show. NBC is expected to officially announce the deal in a presentation to advertisers in New York this afternoon.
     Nevins declined to say how much money DirecTV is forking over for the rights but characterized it as “a lot of money, significantly more than if we just did second runs on a cable network.” Nevins remarked that he wished a deal like it had been possible three years ago when Fox was forced to cancel “Arrested Development,” another show with a small but loyal audience.
    “I love these shows, and I think that they’re unique,” Nevins said. “They have an incredibly strong bond with them and seem to appreciate the characters and actors in them at a deep level. My whole goal is to make television that is not boring. For better or for worse, we make these beloved but not-for-everyone TV shows. And I think that the truth is that in this new climate of television, there is more and more room. There are so many programming sources that there’s a hunger for distinctive programming even if it’s not unbelievably mass.”
    While the audience of “Friday Night Lights” ranges only from 6 million to 7 million, its viewers tend to be upscale, which advertisers like, and very passionate and loyal, Nevins pointed out.
    “Five years ago, or probably three years ago, this show would have sunk below the water and disappeared without a trace,” he said. “Now, there’s value in these shows that have incredibly passionate audiences and passionate fans in the public and passionate fans in the press. I just think it’s really interesting that NBC, being one of the big networks, is now able to capitalize on it.”

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

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