Monday, March 30, 2009

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose for at least two more years: 'Friday Night Lights' renewed!

Ausiello has been saying the announcement is coming for a while now, but it seems to be official today: DirecTV has agreed to order two more seasons of "Friday Night Lights," maintaining the window of exclusivity arrangement they had this year.

Now, there are still two episodes to go in the NBC run of season three, so I want to step very lightly around what happens in those episodes -- and I will ask any commenters who watched the DirecTV run to do the same -- but the season's closing episodes do beautifully set up the show for at least two season's worth of storylines. Easy. And even though a number of the current characters are high school seniors and might not be back full-time, there's definitely still Coach and Mrs. Coach, and Buddy, and some of the characters who aren't graduating yet (Landry and Julie are both juniors at this point in the story).

Midway through this season, I wasn't sure if I wanted it to continue. After I watched the season finale, I would have been furious if it didn't. Three cheers for new business models!

24 comments:

Myles said...

Hip Hip Hooray!

I'm most pleased that the NBC viewers are going to actually be able to view the finale as we only dreamed: potential-filled.

Andrew said...

I'm so fucking conflicted about NBC. Their decision to keep Friday Night Lights alive is basically the same short-term profit tunnel vision that led them to giving Leno five hours of primetime. It seems hypocritical then to call the Leno move sad and tragic while calling this one great. I don't know how to appraise them.

BigTed said...

That's great. Having watched on DirecTV, I agree that the last couple of episodes turned the whole thing around in terms of setting up an all-new dramatic situation for next season. (And I was satisfied with what happened to the main characters in the end -- except one, which I think others will agree with.)

DirecTV has been doing some interesting programming experiments lately, I assume in an attempt to draw a hip, young audience. (Not tha that's necessarily who watches "FNL.") They've been filming a lot of alternative rock performances, and recently did some live broadcasts from SXSW. If they could also do something about their deteriorating customer service, I'd actually really be happy with them.

domino87 said...

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee great news! Amazing that NBC is party responsible for this decision. Thank God for DirecTV.

Pale Writer said...

So...does this doom Chuck?

Mike F said...

OUTSTANDING NEWS...thank you, NBC and Direct TV for keeping a really great show alive and standing behind/encouraging excellence.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what they can do with less pressure to bring up the ratings.

As far as new cast members go, this type of show should have new stars every single year on the football team and the young cast should always have been rolling. No problems there at all...hopefully, this will stir the creative juices.

Julia said...

I'm rending my clothes and donning sackcloth while I mourn the death of NBC. I was holding out hold that Ausiello might be wrong (as he has been before) and NBC wasn't committing suicide.

Hal Incandenza said...

Yesssssssssssssss!

Pamela Jaye said...

congratulations to all you fans of FNL!
I'm off to watch Big Bang and House

Zack Smith said...

This is great news! My only concern is Jason Katims' script for PARENTHOOD is GREAT, and the actors they've lined up for the pilot are equally terrific. I hope he can do both shows!

What's really cool is with a two-season renewal, they can do some cool long-term storylines over that period of time.

In 1999, THE SOPRANOS premiered. Right now, we probably have more good dramas on TV at one time than ever before. Reality and Leno be damned; I have a feeling that things are only going to get better.

TC said...

I don't see a real parallel between the Friday Night Lights renewal and the Leno decision. I think it has more to do with the fact that NBC views FNL as an established commodity. It doesn't bring in ratings, but it takes a spot on the schedule where they at least know what they're getting in terms of viewership, and at this point a small but devoted fanbase is better than rolling the dice on something new.

After this season with huge strikeouts on My Own Worst Enemy and Kings, NBC can't afford to dump major start-up cash for another hour-long show that might not bring in an audience, especially when they have DirecTV offering to help franchise FNL, which is clearly an offer they wouldn't get for any other show.

Wordnerd said...

Hell yeah! I feel like we just won State!

Wordnerd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

Hallelujah!

You just can't count out the Dillon Panthers.

At the very least, there will be more Coach and Tami in my life, and that is a very good thing.

Booya! said...

Awesome news! With the way the season ended, I really want to see more episodes! Woo!

Chaddogg said...

I'm wondering if, aside from the whole sharing-costs thing that makes this financially attractive, FNL has seen some uptick in viewership, either in total between DirecTV and NBC, just on NBC, or on NBC and Hulu plus DVD sales....

I mean, as a devoted fan of the Dillon Panthers, I've done my part to recommend the show to just about everyone I ever talk to about television, and have gotten about 5 or 6 friends at minimum to start watching the show. I know other fans have espoused the merits of the show too, and it seems like a lot of people say "I watched it on Hulu, got hooked, and now I'm following it on NBC."

So, is this "Cheers" redux for NBC -- sticking by an initially poorly rated show that they recognize the quality in because they see the ratings improving/turning around? Even if that's just a small part of the story?

mj said...

Great news but let's not rest there. Now that Directv has a large stake in Sirius XM, why don't we petition for a station that plays artists and tunes that are featured on FNL? And will we ever have the "Live from Dillon" that was promised back last year on DTV but never did work out? In thinking about Season 4, I was initially worried about the exodus of heart-tugging characters but RA Porter said it best (elsewhere in this blog) - the writers managed to draw us in when the characters were completely unknown in episode 1 of Season 1. In Season 4 they will have a huge head start with the Taylor family, plus other returning characters and fresh delicious tensions (that we can't talk about until after the Season 3 finale.)

Jennifer said...

I'm impressed this came about. FNL will have had four more seasons than I ever thought it would have!

Kathie said...

Yay! What great news, so glad this had been renewed, it's one of my favorite shows. I agree with Mike F in that they could have a changing group of kids going through every year. Keep the solid excellent couple of Coach & Tammi, along with Buddy Garrity for humor. It would be cool for the originals to have a cameo and pop in every once in awhile to see what they are up to........especially Riggins....

Sarah said...

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!!

YAY!

Evie Garland said...

Yay!

Will NBC still carry the episodes as well? Would hate to give up one of the last few good shows on my primetime DVRing schedule, but I'd rather watch on DVD than not have it at all.

Michael said...

EW points out that a number of Dillon residents are Twittering, including Matt Saracen, Coach Taylor, Julie Taylor, Lyla Garrity, Tyra Collette, Landry Clarke, and Tim Riggins.

The Sandy Llama said...

Couple questions spring to mind.

Are they going to film all 26 episodes right in a row, rather than splitting up the production?

If they do, indeed, write and film it all in a big chunk how is that going to effect Jason Katims' pilot? Even if they don't, the last time the dude worked on two shows at once, Season 2 happened. That was unpleasant. I'd feel better if David Hudgins (clearly the best writer on the show) wasn't (presumably) leaving the show to do his own pilot. Maybe it won't get picked up, though.

Considering a two-season pickup, I wouldn't mind if Season 4 and 5 are written to wrap things up. When the show first started airing, I actively looked forward to cast turnover, to a new team. And, to an extent, it'd be interesting to see a show like this run for six or seven seasons, but I'd rather see a coherent, planned arc for Coach Taylor over these 26 episodes to a fairly definitive end.

Anonymous said...

A fifth season of Friday Night Lights. I am still shocked, in a positive way.