This is great news to that small but passionate audience for the best TV series you’re not watching. I’m told that Jeff Zucker, Marc Graboff and Ben Silverman had been searching for a way to renew the critically acclaimed but low-rated Friday Night Lights for a 3rd season so that it would still make financial sense. The answer came in a deal with DirecTV, now owned by John Malone’s Liberty Media. Clearly Malone is looking to distinguish DirecTV from its rivals on a content as well as price basis. “It’s an innovative deal where NBC found a partner who will share costs and exhibition windows,” an insider explained to me. So both NBC and DirecTV will be airing Friday Night Lights across multipurpose platforms.
I’m a big fan of the hour-long high school football drama (which is really about horny teens and their hornswoggled parents) so I say hooray. NBC aired the last completed episode of Friday Night Lights on February 8th, but until now there’s been no word on the show’s clouded future. I can report that the third season is saved. Even though it usually ends up last in its time slot, the show does OK in the 18-to-49 demos and often wins the 18-to-34 demos. But FNL‘s Season One only averaged 6.1 million viewers a week, making it something like the 95th-highest rated show on network primetime TV, and Season Two averaged 6.2 million viewers a week but still came in at 101st.
I can’t say whether the fans’ campaign to save the show by sending all those mini- footballs to NBC bigwigs worked the magic. But I do know the execs got them. Plus, the NBC suits knew that since the network is airing crap like that remake of Knight Rider (and shame on TV viewers for giving it good ratings), then they needed quality like FNL.