July 11, 2011 10:13am PT by Lacey Rose
'Friday Night Lights' Moves to ESPN
Friday Night Lights is making yet another move, this time to ESPN.
The critically-acclaimed, ratings-challenged drama will make the leap to the Disney-owned sports networks, ESPN and ESPN Classic, immediately after wrapping its fifth and final season on NBC. The Peabody series ended its run on DirecTV earlier this year.
Beginning on July 12th, ESPN will air the series' first two episodes back-to-back in primetime, and then roll out a marathon of season one episodes two days later on sister channel ESPN classic. ESPN's Texas-focused net, the Longhorn Network, will also be airing the show's five season run.
The irony, of course, is that those associated with the show spent years trying to convince potential viewers that FNL is as much a relationship show as it is a football show. With a move to ESPN, one has to imagine that tune will change.
In fact, that much was already clear from the statement put out by ESPN Films and ESPN Classics vice president and executive producer Connor Schell, who said, "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.”
The announcement, which was first reported by The Wrap, comes with an additional lift from long time fan and ESPN sports personality Bill Simmons. He will use new sports and pop culture site Grantland to publish an oral history of the show, from FNL's cast and crew.
Email: Lacey.Rose@thr.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose