Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler on Friday Night Lights by Virginia Sherwood/NBC Photo
THIS JUST IN: According to preliminary ratings, FNL pulled in a below-average 1.7 in the demo. In other words, time to start campaigning (scroll to bottom for more on that).
It's now or never, Friday Night Lights
fans. Since the drama's second season is being released on DVD in April with (tellingly) only the 15 pre-strike episodes included, it is highly unlikely that the show will return this season. And unless you tune in in droves - and bring friends, strangers and pets to the Nielsen box - tonight's season finale could well serve as the series finale. At least on NBC. Although Peacock prez Ben Silverman's
this week imply that he isn't among FNL
's supporters, many of his colleagues both at the network and studio still believe in the show in a big way. In fact, my source tells me that execs are working 'round the clock exploring options to keep the show alive. Among them: " A shared cable window. You know how USA gets first dibs on Law & Order: Criminal Intent
originals, with the encores airing on the Peacock? Imagine a similar scenario with FNL
and ESPN, perhaps? " Cost-cutting. Although how that could be achieved, I can't imagine. Already, FNL
is relatively inexpensive to produce, and
it's one of the smoothest-running shows on the air - not only did it survive the loss of exec producer Jason Katims to Bionic Woman
for an extended period, it got 15 eps in the can pre-strike compared to other shows' 12 or 13. " An altogether new home. If NBC dumps the show, the studio will likely shop it to other outlets like... ESPN, perhaps? Or maybe CW? But of course the best-case scenario would be to keep FNL
right where it is, operating exactly
as it is. And for that to happen, it's going to need you. Heck, in this endeavor, we're all going to need each other. So let's do it: Let's build the audience. A demo rating above a 2.0 would make the show's renewal all but a sure thing. So tell everyone you've ever met (and their brother!) to tune in to tonight's season finale. And if they happen to have a Nielsen box, so much the better. We can
do this. We will
do this. Now go
do this. - Additional reporting by Ben Katner Save FNL campaigns are already in full swing. The biggest one is being organized by the folks over at Best Week Ever, who are urging viewers to send NBC light bulbs as a message to "Keep the Lights On."