Friday Night Lights Back for Season Three; First on DTV, Then NBC

Categories: Satellite TV

Written By

April 2nd, 2008

Friday Night Lights on NBC, and now DirecTVAP writer Frazier Moore reports that Friday Night Lights will shine again next season. The deal does place FNL first on DirecTV effective October 1, 2008. NBC will air the episodes beginning in early 2009.

No financial terms of the deal between NBC and DirecTV were deisclosed, but NBC entertainment head Ben Silverman does not believe premiering the episodes on DTV to its 16.8 million subscribers will hurt the series ratings among the larger universe of broadcast network viewers for those who will watch on NBC.

The show's producers seem jazzed with Katherine Pope, president of Universal Media Studios saying:

"We aren't just trying to keep the patient on life support for another season," she said. "This is about bringing the show to the next level, in quality and acceptance. This is about exploding the show! You think the show has been brilliant these past two seasons? This is going to be the best season yet!"

I have to give credit to NBC (and thanks to DTV) for figuring out a way to keep one of our fans' favorites alive. One thing that interests me is whether episodes will be made available for purchase online immediately following airing on DTV or whether we'll have to wait until 2009 for that to happen. It probably doesn't matter to me since I'm an iTunes guy and won't use Amazon's Unbox (where NBCU shows can currently be downloaded) because there's no easy way to get show on my iPhone using Unbox.  You may remember that NBCU bolted iTunes in a tizzy over control, which of course, it will come to regret but not just yet.

Either way, I predict the path from "DTV broadcast" to availability for torrent download (I'm not opining on the legality of that here) will be swift and that Internet downloads of those torrents will be among the top torrent downloads. While that sort of thing presents a significant barrier to many people (and let's face it, if you don't have a broadband internet connection it's hardly worth thinking about), enterprising souls who "just can't wait", simply won't.

Photo Courtesy of AP

 
  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    Absent any knowledge about the economics which could change my opinion, I like this deal for DTV.
    Their competitive argument vs. cable right now is pretty much NFL Sunday Ticket. The “we have more HDTV” is pretty hollow, since the channels most people watch are available in HD from cable as well. They have to differentiate themselves from cable in order to survive.

    For NBC, if FNL didn't make economic sense on its own [i.e. without at DTV deal] and if the DTV payments to NBC make up the difference between “doesn't make sense” and “makes sense”, then it's a win for them too.

    The downside for NBC is that if the broadcast results for the next season of FNL fall even further, part because of DTV airing and Internet leakage as Robert cites, then it might ultimately not make economic sense, but it seems like a reasonable gamble.

    Edit: It is also perhaps begins the trend of the broadcast networks no longer being the “top of the TV food chain” from the start, i.e. where original productions air first. Except for the strike disruption of this season, I'm not sure that's ever happened before. This agreement begins from the basis that DTV is first in the pecking order, and NBC is second. That's a big change.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    Absent any knowledge about the economics which could change my opinion, I like this deal for DTV.
    Their competitive argument vs. cable right now is pretty much NFL Sunday Ticket. The “we have more HDTV” is pretty hollow, since the channels most people watch are available in HD from cable as well. They have to differentiate themselves from cable in order to survive.

    For NBC, if FNL didn’t make economic sense on its own [i.e. without at DTV deal] and if the DTV payments to NBC make up the difference between “doesn’t make sense” and “makes sense”, then it’s a win for them too.

    The downside for NBC is that if the broadcast results for the next season of FNL fall even further, part because of DTV airing and Internet leakage as Robert cites, then it might ultimately not make economic sense, but it seems like a reasonable gamble.

    Edit: It is also perhaps begins the trend of the broadcast networks no longer being the “top of the TV food chain” from the start, i.e. where original productions air first. Except for the strike disruption of this season, I’m not sure that’s ever happened before. This agreement begins from the basis that DTV is first in the pecking order, and NBC is second. That’s a big change.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    While Internet downloading (whether it be free streaming, legal downloading from for fee svcs or torrents) has a LOT of buzz, I think it represents a tiny fraction – at least in the US of overall viewing of shows.

    While I have no doubt that will change over time, I don't think the ramp is going to be as steep as some analysts seem to think. I'm jaded by the notion that I've had a DVR for almost 10 years and thought it would catch-on like fire. It hasn't. 10 years is a while, and I can safely say that uptake for DVR (which Nielsen has pegged at 21% of the homes, I'm guessing it goes up to 25-26% next season) has not been swift when compared to something like DVD.

    I expect the same will be the case for Internet viewing (aside from the youtube style short clips).

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    While Internet downloading (whether it be free streaming, legal downloading from for fee svcs or torrents) has a LOT of buzz, I think it represents a tiny fraction – at least in the US of overall viewing of shows.

    While I have no doubt that will change over time, I don’t think the ramp is going to be as steep as some analysts seem to think. I’m jaded by the notion that I’ve had a DVR for almost 10 years and thought it would catch-on like fire. It hasn’t. 10 years is a while, and I can safely say that uptake for DVR (which Nielsen has pegged at 21% of the homes, I’m guessing it goes up to 25-26% next season) has not been swift when compared to something like DVD.

    I expect the same will be the case for Internet viewing (aside from the youtube style short clips).

  • Tony

    I've seen every episode of this show and I have to say it's all very cliché. Everything is so predictable what you'd expect from a sportsmovie only dragged along for an entire season. They should lose once when it really matters, that would take balls to do. Still I oddly enjoyed it somehow.

  • Tony

    I’ve seen every episode of this show and I have to say it’s all very cliché. Everything is so predictable what you’d expect from a sportsmovie only dragged along for an entire season. They should lose once when it really matters, that would take balls to do. Still I oddly enjoyed it somehow.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Ambivalence is a tricky thing. My cat has a similar problem with scotch-tape or anything sticky. He can't stand it, looks at it with great contempt, but, alas, he can't stay away from it either…he just has to touch it. Then by all appearances, he's completely disgusted with himself once he does.

    I feel more or less the same way about Hell's Kitchen. And yet, I always come back for more.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Robert Seidman

    Ambivalence is a tricky thing. My cat has a similar problem with scotch-tape or anything sticky. He can’t stand it, looks at it with great contempt, but, alas, he can’t stay away from it either…he just has to touch it. Then by all appearances, he’s completely disgusted with himself once he does.

    I feel more or less the same way about Hell’s Kitchen. And yet, I always come back for more.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    NBC has said that even with a 15 percent decline in ratings next year they will come out ahead with the DTV deal. That sounds like a good deal for them then.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    NBC has said that even with a 15 percent decline in ratings next year they will come out ahead with the DTV deal. That sounds like a good deal for them then.

  • kayarn

    so this is what it comes to in order to keep quality tv on the air? ill take it and will surely be among those downloading the torrent (go ahead and sue me, america).

    the question i ask is why couldnt happen to arrested development!

  • kayarn

    so this is what it comes to in order to keep quality tv on the air? ill take it and will surely be among those downloading the torrent (go ahead and sue me, america).

    the question i ask is why couldnt happen to arrested development!

  • Jack

    This is great news because we do get at least one more season of this amazing show.

    Tony, I wouldn't say the show is all that predictable. I mean, yes, the first season finale was a bit cliche, every once in a while it is predictable, but most of the show actually feels honest and genuine and that's what it's all about.

    I compare this show to my all-time favorite show, The Wire. While The Wire was a show set in Baltimore (big america) and centered around drug trade in America, FNL is set in Dillon (small time america) and centered around football.

    They are two completely different shows, but both of them are honest and true in what they try to achieve.

    Hope I made sense. :-)

  • Jack

    This is great news because we do get at least one more season of this amazing show.

    Tony, I wouldn’t say the show is all that predictable. I mean, yes, the first season finale was a bit cliche, every once in a while it is predictable, but most of the show actually feels honest and genuine and that’s what it’s all about.

    I compare this show to my all-time favorite show, The Wire. While The Wire was a show set in Baltimore (big america) and centered around drug trade in America, FNL is set in Dillon (small time america) and centered around football.

    They are two completely different shows, but both of them are honest and true in what they try to achieve.

    Hope I made sense. :-)

  • Mikey

    Tony, you've watched over 30 episodes of a series that you find to be cliched and predictable?

    You must have an awful lot of time on your hands.

  • Mikey

    Tony, you’ve watched over 30 episodes of a series that you find to be cliched and predictable?

    You must have an awful lot of time on your hands.

  • Aurelius

    Oh, come on. How would he be able to back up his opinion on the show if he hadn't watched quite a number of episodes?

  • Aurelius

    Oh, come on. How would he be able to back up his opinion on the show if he hadn’t watched quite a number of episodes?

  • Tony

    Spoilers!!! Don't read if you haven't seen the show

    Yeah, I don't base my opinion on something if I haven't watched it and judged for myself. FYI I had to recover from surgery and downloaded every episode and watched everything within 3 weeks. From the first episode on I already knew how it was gonna end and unfortunately I was right. I also have an idea how future season will fold out if they follow the standard formula. It's better than a sportsmovie, don't get me wrong, you don't see how the paralyzed quarterback will cope with everyday situations and the character development in movies is always sub-par compared the tv shows. I liked a lot of the interactions. But the stand-in quarterback who becomes the star, the race issue, the winning superdebuts of the 2 new team-members in season 2, exactly Voodoo in the final and ofcourse winning state is so cliche. All of them combined is a bit too much for my taste. It would be incredible if they lost when it really mattered, that's all what I'm saying. Excuse me for not liking every aspect of the show. I wouldn't have watched every episode if I thought it was bad. I hope they'll surprise me next season.

  • Tony

    Spoilers!!! Don’t read if you haven’t seen the show

    Yeah, I don’t base my opinion on something if I haven’t watched it and judged for myself. FYI I had to recover from surgery and downloaded every episode and watched everything within 3 weeks. From the first episode on I already knew how it was gonna end and unfortunately I was right. I also have an idea how future season will fold out if they follow the standard formula. It’s better than a sportsmovie, don’t get me wrong, you don’t see how the paralyzed quarterback will cope with everyday situations and the character development in movies is always sub-par compared the tv shows. I liked a lot of the interactions. But the stand-in quarterback who becomes the star, the race issue, the winning superdebuts of the 2 new team-members in season 2, exactly Voodoo in the final and ofcourse winning state is so cliche. All of them combined is a bit too much for my taste. It would be incredible if they lost when it really mattered, that’s all what I’m saying. Excuse me for not liking every aspect of the show. I wouldn’t have watched every episode if I thought it was bad. I hope they’ll surprise me next season.

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