A rather glorious thing happened in March, when TV's acclaimed if undersampled Friday Night Lights was renewed for not one but two more seasons. Although the series' NBC return is a small eternity away (summer 2010) and its DirecTV premiere is still "TBD," we tackled the opportunity to speak with Connie Britton about Tami's "roller coaster" past, and apparently finite future.
TVGuide.com: I want you to know that my wife got hooked on Friday Night Lights this past season — and I think it's largely due to the tactile and real performances given by you, Kyle Chandler, et al.
Connie Britton: Aw, that's so awesome! That's what I'm talking about, that's what we need to do.
TVGuide.com: Hey, every head counts. What was your favorite thing about playing Tami last year?
Britton: For me, it felt like a roller coaster. The whole aspect of being principal was really interesting, because when I first heard about that, I was heady with power! I was like, "This is the be-all and end-all," Kyle was jealous. ... It was fantastic. And then they were like, "Yeah, but you're going to have a huge head-to-head issue with Buddy, and ultimately you'll lose." [Laughs] I was like, "No fair!"
TVGuide.com: What are the odds that Tami and Eric will be working at rival Dillon high schools next season?
Britton: Knowing our writers, I bet that's the way they'll go, because that will be so interesting and challenging. And that's how we do it at Friday Night Lights.
TVGuide.com: Last season we said sad goodbyes to both Smash and Jason...
Britton: C'mon, admit it, you cried during those episodes.
TVGuide.com: Maybe. Will Season 4 serve up anything similar for Matt (Zach Gilford), Tyra (Adrianne Palicki) or Lyla (Minka Kelly), all of whom could be heading off to college?
Britton: The writers just now are concocting their story ideas, but I would think they do a little arc for all those characters — or at least the ones they can. All these actors are going off and doing awesome movies and stuff. We are the farm team for Hollywood, with our actors, our writers, our director.... It's crazy.
TVGuide.com: Executive producers Jason Katims and Jeffrey Reiner have gone off to do other projects (NBC's Parenthood and Trauma, respectively). How might their absences affect the mood on the set?
Britton: I don't think it will be different at all. We'll have some different players on the team, but we also will have a lot of the same players. There's Michael Waxman, who was our First [Assistant Director] for a long time before starting to direct some episodes, and we just love him. I think he's going to be picking up some of the Jeff Reiner slack.
TVGuide.com: Plus you're going into this transition as one of the business' best-oiled machines.
Britton: I really do think that's true. We've always attributed the success and greatness of Friday Night Lights to its process, and that involves every single person, from every department.
TVGuide.com: What was the thinking behind a two-season pick-up? Was it financial?
Britton: I'm not involved in all those negotiations, but if I had to guess, the only reason somebody would do a two-season pick-up is if there's a financial advantage. It impacts syndication, packaging....
TVGuide.com: So are you shooting Seasons 4 and 5 back-to-back? That'd be cost-effective.
Britton: No, I think there will be a little break between seasons, if for no other reason than to let the writers regroup.
TVGuide.com: Did you have your hand slapped at all for telling EW.com that after these next two seasons, the show is done?
Britton: No! I don't think I'm out of bounds in saying that. I think that is the intention.
TVGuide.com: Hey, end dates are the new black — everybody is doing them.
Britton: Exactly, and we are all looking at it as an advantage. One of the things that's so hard about TV is that time at the end of the season where it's a guessing game of, "Will we ever see each other again?" That's tough, man. So for us to have the luxury of knowing what we have in front of us and, frankly, knowing when we get to say goodbye, is great. Listen, if the show suddenly started making phenomenal amounts of money and gets phenomenal ratings and they're like, "Let's keep it going," that would be great. But I have a feeling that this is a really good way to be really specific with stories.