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Lights out for ‘Friday Night?’

(AP) — Another beloved TV show is close to the chopping block. And yet again, its loyal fans are attempting to stave off the execution.

With the writers strike over, a number of shows are in limbo as network executives plot their new schedules. Most notably, the fate of Friday Night Lights hangs in the balance.

The hourlong drama, based on the 1990 book by H.G. Bissinger, focuses on a high school football team in Dillon, Texas. It’s a deftly written (and elegantly scored) series about a small town in which football is both a blessing and a curse.

For its first season, the Writers Guild Awards nominated it for best drama series. A critic for The New York Times has gushed: I love `Friday Night Lights.’

Some reports have suggested NBC wants to bring back Friday Night Lights, which was in the midst of its second season when the strike halted production. Variety has reported a decision from the network likely will not be made for several months.

With such a window, it’s clear: Blog now or forever hold your peace.

To that end, http://www.SaveFridayNightLights.tv has been created. The site’s goal: inundate NBC entertainment chief Ben Silverman with letters, online petitions, even plastic footballs.

FNL hasn’t had it easy. Some viewers were initially confused about the series. The book had been adapted into a 2004 movie by the same name, and when it hit the tube, it was oddly scheduled not on its namesake day, but Wednesday. Being up against American Idol didn’t help, either.

For the second season, it was switched to the more obvious Friday night, but ratings only improved to 6.2 million viewers after 5.9 million in the previous season.

The site for VH1’s Best Week Ever has also opened a petition to save FNL: http://www.bestweekever.tv/category/save-friday-night-lights.

Such tactics have a checkered rate of success. Way back in 1984, CBS renewed Cagney and Lacey after a letter-writing campaign. But acclaimed shows such as Fox’s Arrested Development, the CW’s Veronica Mars and NBC’s Freaks and Geeks weren’t saved by online petitions.

Sometimes, a gimmick has helped. Fans sent 40,000 pounds of peanuts to CBS after Jericho was canceled, prompting the network to bring the show back for a second season. The network did, though, slash the show’s budget. When the new season premiered last week, it drew 7 million viewers.

Devotees of the USA Network’s The 4400 have sought to follow in the footsteps of Jericho. Since the series was canceled after its fourth season in December, more than 6,000 bags of sunflower seed bags have been shipped to USA.

Friday Night Lights hopes its plastic footballs will score a touchdown for the series. As of Wednesday, SaveFridayNightLights.tv claimed there were 6,250 minifootballs in the air.
Lights out for ‘Friday Night?’ – found here.

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February 21, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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