“Friday Night Lights” heading to ABC Family


ABC Family announced that it has acquired the basic cable rights to the Emmy Award-winning series “Friday Night Lights,” whose 4th season is currently airing on NBC.

Under the deal with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution, ABC Family is tentatively planning to begin airing the first season of Friday Night Lights in September 2010. It has signed for the rights to five seasons of the show.

“We’re thrilled to add NBC’s critically-acclaimed series ‘Friday Night Lights’ to the mix of our defining original and quality acquired series. The series is beloved by critics and viewers, and fits in perfectly with ABC Family’s blend of optimistic, heartfelt programming,” said Tom Zappala, Executive Vice President, Program Acquisitions & Scheduling, ABC Cable Networks Group.

“‘Friday Night Lights’ is a perfect fit for ABC Family’s sensibility for the modern day family program,” said Bruce Casino, Senior Vice President Cable & Ancillary Sales NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. “ABC Family will introduce this award-winning show to a whole new audience segment where the series can thrive in its new environment.”

Expanding on the movie and best-selling book “Friday Night Lights,” the TV 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. The series debuted on October 3, 2006 on NBC. Beginning in October 2008, the third and fourth season of the drama began airing on satellite provider DirecTV’s The 101 Network and rebroadcast on NBC.

Friday Night Lights is executive-produced by Peter Berg, who also wrote and directed the pilot. Joining Berg as executive producers are Jason Katims, Brian Grazer, David Nevins and Sarah Aubrey. It is a production of Universal Media Studios, Imagine Entertainment and Film 44.

RBR-TVBR observation: This is a case of quality television with a loyal following and lots of awards – Emmy, Peabody, etc. – but so-so ratings for primetime network TV. It should have staying power on cable.