The survival of Friday Night Lights for a third season is a miracle. Nearly cancelled by NBC, a last minute deal with DirecTV brought it back for a shortened season 3 that will last for 13 episodes airing this Fall on DirecTV and will then air on NBC in the Spring.

At the Television Critics Association panel for Friday Night Lights, executive producer Jason Katims revealed season 3 will premiere October 1 on DirectTV (to tie in to the fact that it will air on DirecTV’s channel 101). The NBC airings will begin in February.

Addressing the previously announced fact that Scott Porter and Gaius Charles will not be returning as series regulars, Katims said it was mainly due to the focus on reality for the show, acknowledging the fact that graduating from high school meant the characters would have to move on. However, both stars will be back for four-episode arcs that will wrap up their storylines and send them off.

Katims also pointed out that airing on DirecTV means the show may be slightly different from the original series because of fewer standards and practices restraints and longer running times. He also said season 3 will begin with a new school year rather than finishing up the unfinished second season.

The highlight was likely when Taylor Kitsch answered a question about the future of Riggins and Lyla by saying he had no idea what was happening the next season. This was followed by Minka Kelly revealing she knows more than he does, saying that Lyla will be done with her “born-again phase” and will be officially dating Riggins. Continuing his endlessly charming demeanor, Kitsch proceeded to lavish praise on Kyle Chandler for being the emotional spine of the cast. In true Riggins fashion, however, Kitsch called him “Chands,” which instantly became the critics’ new favorite actor nickname.

Check back with BuddyTV over the next week for more updates and scoops live from the TCA press tour.

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-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.