What did Friday Night Lights executive producer Jason Katims feel like when the show got its first drama series Emmy nod the day before its final episode is scheduled to air? "It's like an episode of the show — a touchdown in the last seconds of the game," he told TVGuide.com Thursday. "It's the perfect metaphor. We'll take it!"
"I have to say, it's sweet. It's not bitter," he continued. "It's simply sweet. Even though the finale is on tomorrow night, we shot that a year ago, so it's been awhile. Getting this kind of recognition now, after we've already gone through the bittersweetness of the show ending, it's just so great and unexpected." Long the critics' darling, Friday Night Lights also landed repeat Emmy nominations for stars Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler.
"I just got off the phone with Connie, and she was just thrilled," Katims says. "She was in the camp of not thinking we'd get these kind of nominations. That's actually one of the best parts about all of this. Because we haven't been in production for awhile, this will be a way for all of us to see each other a bunch of times over the next couple of months." In the meantime, Katims will celebrate with four of the Parenthood writers who also wrote for Friday Night Lights. "We're going to go have a drunk and bask in it a bit," he says.
Katims is also nominated for writing the series finale, "Always," which aired in February on DirecTV, and will re-air Friday at 8/7c on NBC, bringing its TV run to a close. "I have such special feelings for this episode. The first cut of an episode, normally, all you think about are the problems, and in this case I remember watching that first cut and feeling so proud. I thought it was just so what I was hoping that episode would be, so I'm really happy. And shocked."
On behalf of those who already watched it on DirecTV, we at TVGuide.com felt compelled to ask — spoiler alert! do not read any further if you have not seen the series finale -- did Katims always know that Coach would not make Tami give up that job?
Here's what he said: "From the very beginning, we wanted to end the show with Coach and Tami leaving Dillon. I had a gut feeling that when we got to the end of the series, that's where it should end. It all started with Coach Taylor coming to this town to coach this team, and it felt to me that this is the life of a high school football coach: You take a place as your home and then it's highly possible and even likely that you'll change jobs and make a new place your home. It was very important for the last episode to go back to where the show started so, we were trying to figure out how to make them leave without being redundant, because Coach already had a job offer that he took. Then we came up with the idea that Tami gets the job offer. That felt interesting because while theirs is such a great marriage, and is often written about as one of the best marriages on television, there has always been something a little bit traditional about it. There's always been a sense that Tami is following Coach in his career and sort of building her life around his. We thought that could be a really great conflict and one we haven't seen yet between the two of them."