Now that the first-run of the acclaimed Friday Night Lights is done on both DirecTV and NBC, the show is free to find a new home and it has done just that by moving to ESPN Classic. The series will be seen in its entirety on ESPN Classic and will begin airing tomorrow. A season one marathon will air on Thursday and Friday of this week, then on July 21, the series will start to air regularly with episodes running on Thursday nights at 9 and 10.
I’ll admit to never watching this series. Because I was in a personal boycott of NBC’s primetime programming due to the Conan O’Brien mess, the show fell victim as part of guilt-by-association with the network. Now that it’s no longer airing there, I should probably start watching. Some of my friends on Twitter and Facebook swear by it and they are people I trust. Anyway, here’s the press release.
The Return of the Critically Acclaimed Series Kicks Off on ESPN July 12
Fans of Friday Night Lights will once again be able to recapture the excitement of the Dillon Panthers as ESPN will air the entire series with episodes set to premiere on July 12. To celebrate the kick-off of the football-themed drama, episodes one and two from season one will air back-to-back in primetime on ESPN at 8pm and 9pm ET.
For those who may be new to the series, a crash course in Friday Night Lights will be offered via a “Season 1 FNL Marathon” on ESPN Classic airing on July 14 and 15. Then, beginning July 21, ESPN Classic will become the new cable home for Friday Night Lights, airing each season in sequential order beginning with season one/episode one, with “new” episodes each Thursday night at 9pm and 10pm ET.
“At its core, Friday Night Lights captures the blend of drama, excitement and heartache that embodies what it means to be a sports fan, leading to its very loyal and passionate following among viewers,” said Connor Schell, vice president and executive producer, ESPN Films and ESPN Classic. “We recently created a home on ESPN Classic for ESPN Films on the weekends and we believe Friday Night Lights further enhances our mix of long-form sports storytelling. We see this as an opportunity to deliver the series to a whole new audience.”
Additionally, timed to the Friday Night Lights marathon on ESPN Classic, Bill Simmons’ new site Grantland.com will publish an oral history of the series through the words of the entire cast and crew on July 14.
Longhorn Network, the ESPN owned and operated 24-hour network dedicated to Texas athletics in partnership with UT and IMG College, will also air the entire five seasons of Friday Night Lights upon its August launch.
Inspired by the book and 2004 film of the same name, Friday Night Lights premiered in October 2006 and follows the lives of the players and coach of a competitive Texas high school football team. The Peabody- and Emmy-winning series wraps up its fifth and final season on NBC July 15. Friday Night Lights is a production of Universal Media Studios, Imagine Television and Film 44 with executive producers Peter Berg (Hancock), Jason Katims (“Parenthood”), Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind), David Nevins (“Arrested Development”), Sarah Aubrey (“Prime Suspect”) and David Hudgins (“Parenthood”).