The "Friday Night Lights" cast and crew were well-received by the TCA-ers in the show's sesh on Tuesday. The crix weren't overly gushy but there was a general consensus that this Peabody-winning show is a fine example of quality triumphing over anemic ratings. Getting a wider audience to appreciate the show had become something of a mission for the previous steward of NBC Entertainment, before Kevin Reilly hustled out of Burbank in June following the Ben Silverman shakeup.
To Ben's credit, in the eyes of "FNL" fans, he's vowed to support the show and one of his first bulletins on Monday in his exec Q&A was a time slot switch for the show that at least takes it out of the vortex of 10 p.m. Friday (where only CBS has found the right mathematical equation to get a decent number lately with "Numbers"). Now "FNL" is due to get a little hammock support at 9 p.m. on its namesake night between "Deal or No Deal" and "Las Vegas." And Silverman's co-topper, Marc Graboff, praised the show for being "efficiently produced," which was another thing that helped it survive for a second season.
The rumblings among "FNL's" rabid fan base have been that the Peacock fumbled badly in marketing it as a high school football feel-good drama when it's really a finely drawn, beautifully written, multi-generational drama, with a small Texas town serving as an extended family. Exec producer Jason Katims (pictured right) may or may not agree, but he took the high road on Tuesday and didn't take any swipes at the network. But when asked about his reaction to the news that Reilly was headed for the exit, Katims did admit to being distressed, or as he put it: "You mean after the suicide attempt?"
For a show that is such a critical darling for its slice-of-life nature, the crix put Katims and cast members through their paces as to whether "FNL" really has a hope of catching on season two in a world where hard-boiled procedurals, fantasy and ultra-soapy soaps seem to be what's working best with auds.However, there was also plenty of healthy discussion about thesp Connie Britton and how she brings a refreshingly natural sexiness to her role as Tami Taylor, the high school counselor and wife of football coach Eric Taylor, played by Kyle Chandler.
Surely, on Thursday morning "FNL" will receive some Emmy love in the form of nominations that should help the "FNL" team's cause. Nothing's a sure thing when it comes to noms until they're announced, but it seems a safe bet that Chandler (pictured left with co-stars Adrianne Palicki and Jesse Plemons) and Britton (pictured right) might be wise to start thinking about what they're going to say to all those reporters on the phone who are just dying to know how it feels to be nominated and where they were when they heard the news, etc. etc.