NBC, UNIVERSAL MEDIA STUDIOS AND DIRECTV FORM BOLD PARTNERSHIP TO RENEW 'FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS' FOR A THIRD SEASON
NBC Will Begin Broadcasting Season 3 of Drama on Fridays (9-10 p.m. ET) Starting Soon After the Network's Telecast of the Super Bowl in 2009; New Episodes of Critically Acclaimed Drama Will Be Broadcast on DIRECTV Beginning in October
NEW YORK - April 2, 2008 - NBC, Universal Media Studios and DIRECTV -- the nation's leading satellite television provider -- have formed a bold, multi-platform partnership to launch a third season of the critically acclaimed drama series, "Friday Night Lights," to be broadcast initially on DIRECTV and subsequently telecast on NBC later in the 2008-09 season.
NBC would begin broadcasting the Season 3 episodes of the Peabody Award-winning drama on Fridays (9-10 p.m. ET), starting soon after NBC's telecast of the Super Bowl in 2009. DIRECTV would have exclusive rights to the season's 13 new episodes beginning Wednesday, October 1 on DIRECTV's entertainment channel "The 101."
The announcements were made by Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, and Marc Graboff, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, and Eric Shanks, Executive Vice President of Entertainment for DIRECTV, at NBC's advertiser meetings in New York today.
"We're all about quality TV at NBC Universal and we're beyond thrilled that we have structured an innovative deal that allows us to continue to produce and air this beloved series," said Silverman. "This landmark deal is a win-win for NBC, Universal Media Studios and DIRECTV, not to mention the many passionate fans who adore "Friday Night Lights'."
"This mutually beneficial agreement shows that we are very flexible in providing additional platforms that will allow quality shows such as 'Friday Night Lights' to keep turning out wonderful stories," said Graboff. "This represents a new business model and DIRECTV is the perfect partner for this new venture."
"It has been an amazing experience to work with Ben Silverman and his team of forward-thinking executives at NBC to craft this groundbreaking deal," said Shanks. "We are immensely proud to bring a show of such tremendous quality to DIRECTV's channel 101 and are honored to have a hand in allowing 'Friday Night Lights' to live on for its extremely enthusiastic fan base. We know our subscribers will be thrilled to be the first to see the new episodes. It's a great time to be a DIRECTV customer."
"We are excited to be a part of something that feels legitimately groundbreaking, and new," said executive producer Peter Berg. "All of us in the 'Friday Night Lights' family are thrilled that 'FNL' will be back for a third season and look forward to working with our new partners at DIRECTV as well as the outstanding team at NBC led by Marc Graboff and Ben Silverman. Clear Eyes. Full Hearts."
"Everyone at the show is thrilled that NBC and DIRECTV have found a creative and innovative model to keep 'Friday Night Lights' on the air," said executive producer Jason Katims. "The entire creative team is truly excited about jumping back in and working on a show that we all feel so deeply passionate about. But the biggest win here is for the fans of the show (and hopefully lots of newcomers), who will all have the opportunity to see these new episodes, first on DIRECTV and ultimately on NBC."
Hailed as one of the top-10 shows by numerous publications such as Time magazine, Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times, the critically-acclaimed drama "Friday Night Lights" also has been honored two years in a row (2006/2007) as an American Film Institute (AFI) Television Program of the Year and received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award in 2006. The series also received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series (2007).
Expanding on the hit feature film and best-selling book "Friday Night Lights," the award-winning series centers on life in Dillon, Texas, where high school football brings the community together -- and the drama of small town life threatens to tear it apart. Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler, "Grey's Anatomy") faced countless challenges during his first season as head coach of the Dillon Panthers, ultimately leading the team to a state championship.
Finally returning to Dillon (after leaving briefly for a coaching job at a college which put his marriage and the fate of the Panther's team in jeopardy), Coach Taylor juggles his responsibility to his family, the team, and the growing pressures from the community. His wife, Tami (Connie Britton, "24"), has her hands full with a career as the Dillon High School student counselor, a new baby and ultra-sensitive teenaged daughter, Julie (Aimee Teegarden, "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide"); reckless fullback Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch, The "Covenant") can never seem to get a break and without a stable adult guardian at home, finds comfort in all the wrong places. In the aftermath of Tyra Colette's (Adrianne Palicki, "South Beach") deadly encounter with an obsessed stalker, she tries to sort out her feelings for Landry (Jesse Plemons, "Grey's Anatomy"), who at times makes all the right moves on and off the field; and Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly, "The Kingdom") takes on a new job as a deejay at a Christian radio station, further confusing her relationships with a new beau and Riggins.
Star quarterback Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford, "The Last Winter") finds a new romance, but when it ends, is overwhelmed with abandonment issues. Meanwhile, Jason Street's (Scott Porter, "Music & Lyrics by�") struggle to start a new life outside of high school and football has him exploring interesting avenues. What should be the best year of high school for Brian "Smash" Williams (Gaius Charles, NBC's "Law & Order: SVU") is short-lived after he runs headlong into racial bias and when UT revokes his scholarship, Smash must rethink his future plans.
The series is executive-produced by Peter Berg (the film "Friday Night Lights," "The Rundown"), who also wrote and directed the pilot, Jason Katims ("Roswell"), Brian Grazer ("The Da Vinci Code," "Cinderella Man," "A Beautiful Mind"), David Nevins ("Arrested Development"), Sarah Aubrey ("Bad Santa," "The Kingdom") and Jeffrey Reiner (NBC's "Surface"). "Friday Night Lights" is a production of Universal Media Studios, Imagine Entertainment and Film 44.
In response to an evolving media marketplace and the changing needs of its advertisers, NBC Universal has created a more innovative, client-centric approach to its traditional Upfront presentation. It will include the announcement of a year-round programming schedule in April; a series of one-on-one client meetings in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago; and a spotlight event on May 12 that will showcase the full scale of the NBCU offerings in a unique, multi-media, interactive environment that will allow advertisers to experience the broad spectrum of marketing opportunities available within the company. The new Upfront process allows NBCU to continue its 'customer-first' approach, while working to create new advertising models, define more effective metrics and provide a better return on its clients' investments.
About DIRECTV, Inc.
DIRECTV, Inc. (NASDAQ:, the nation's leading satellite television service provider, presents the finest television experience available to more than 16.8 million customers in the United States and is leading the HD revolution with 95 national HD channels - more quality HD channels than any other television provider. Each day, DIRECTV subscribers enjoy access to over 265 channels of 100% digital picture and sound, exclusive programming, industry-leading customer satisfaction (which has surpassed cable for seven years running) and superior technologies that include advanced DVR and HD-DVR services and the most state-of-the-art interactive sports packages available anywhere. For the most up-to-date information on DIRECTV, please visit directv.com.
About NBC Universal:
NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80 percent owned by General Electric and 20 percent owned by Vivendi Universal.