Friday Night Lights
is one of the best shows on television, but like a lot of great shows it isn't watched by very many people. Each new episode in season 2 averaged only about six million viewers, which isn't a particularly spectacular amount for a major network like NBC. However, six million viewers would be considered a great number on networks like the CW, E!, G4, DirecTV, or TNT, which is why NBC is attempting to bring the show back for a third season by sharing it with one of these outlets. The network has been shopping the show around, trying to strike up a deal where, for a certain fee, one of these channels can broadcast repeats of Friday Night Lights
episodes after they've aired on NBC. This isn't the only option NBC is looking into, but is it possible for this show to be saved?
The deal that NBC is trying to make with these other networks isn't unprecedented. When ratings for Law & Order: Criminal Intent
began to falter, NBC started running new episodes on the USA network and then encoring them at a later date. However, NBC owns USA, so this made the move a lot easier. If the CW or TNT wanted to pick up Friday Night Lights
they would have to pay for the privilege, and word is that NBC is asking for a high price to share the series. By making the rights to FNL
so costly, NBC could easily scare off potential buyers.
There are some cynical FNL
fans who think that the high asking price is an intentional move on NBC's part to ensure they can cancel the show without looking like the bad guys. After all, if they put on a guise of shopping the series around, fans will be less likely to complain if they end up canceling it. The reason fans are so cynical is due to recent comments
from NBC Entertainment head Ben Silverman, where he basically said that Friday Night Lights
was dragging down NBC's sparkling reputation because nobody watches it. He recommended that people watch 30 Rock
According to Kristin at E!Online, another option on the table is to wrap up Friday Night Lights
with a two-hour TV movie. Of course this isn't the ideal scenario for dedicated FNL
fans, but I'll happily take it if it's all the closure I can get. Anything is better than simply canceling it after its final pre-strike episode, which didn't provide any sort of wrap up for the series.
Is all of this show shopping simply a way to appease fans before dropping the ax, or is NBC actually serious about saving the best drama on their network? Hopefully we'll find out soon.
- Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of NBC)