Though critics and a core number of fans love Friday Night Lights, the season two ratings haven’t been strong enough for a network renewal. As we discussed a few weeks ago, NBC has been trying to find a financially creative way to renew the drama — possibly in partnership with someone else. It now appears that DirecTV will be the Panthers’ savior but, for how long?
Deadline Hollywood Daily is reporting that the peacock network will partner with satellite TV provider DirecTV for another year of high school football drama. The deal hasn’t been closed yet so we don’t know exactly what this means.
More than likely, DirecTV and NBC will both air the episodes but subscribers to the satellite TV provider will get treated to special content. Possible extra goodies include behind-the-scenes footage, extended scenes, or episodes debuting on DirecTV a few days before they air on NBC.
In the worst-case scenario for cable and over-the-airwaves viewers, this would mean that FNL would be aired exclusively on DirecTV. Obviously, their ultimate goal is to pick up more satellite TV subscribers.
Until we know the details of the arrangement, it’s hard to say how the deal will shake out. Still, let’s consider the DirecTV/NBC track record.
When NBC cancelled the Passions soap opera, DirecTV made a special deal to air the soap exclusively in the US. After a big campaign to get loyal viewers to switch to their service, DirecTV cancelled the soap opera. Lots of angry fans felt that they’d been the victim of a “bait and switch.”