Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s Emmy coverage.
EMMYS: Comedy And Drama Series Have Become Primetime’s Great Divide
The Emmy nomination for top drama series that so many had been wrongly predicting for years finally materialized this morning for Friday Night Lights, the DirecTV-by-way-of-NBC football drama that since its 2006 start has been at once blessed with lavish critical praise and cursed with spotty ratings. Yet the fact that the series nom comes for Lights‘ final season — long after it can do the show any good — still tasted sweet rather than bitter for showrunner Jason Katims. “It’s fantastic,” Katims said in an interview with Deadline today, referring both to the show’s first series nomination as well as the repeat performing nods for leads Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler (their second in as many years). “It was completely unexpected but totally plays into the whole spirit that guided this series. To use our metaphor, it’s like earning a shot with our last possession in the final seconds of the game. And we’re thrilled to have it.” Lights blazed a decidedly unprecedented path in its fight to survive as long as it did, starting out on NBC where it struggled in the ratings after having its second season cut short by the writers strike and faced cancellation before being rescued from the scrap heap by DirecTV.
Overall, it was a bittersweet morning for Katims because his other series, NBC’s dramedy Parenthood, was shut out completely, but he was still elated by the success of Lights. Katims himself landed two honors, also garnering a drama series writing nomination for his script on the much-praised Lights finale. But in keeping with the selfless fortitude of his show, the producer preferred to generously share the spotlight with everyone involved in the show. “I honestly feel that this series nomination is about the entire body of work on all five seasons of Friday Night Lights and a testament to the contribution of every member of the team each step of the way,” Katims insisted. “That’s what makes it particularly great, especially sweet. The fact that it’s taken us so long to earn it only makes it sweeter. And you know, it’s entirely appropriate it should happen that way. This show has never followed a traditional script. It’s always made its own rules, clear up until the end.”