[dl] Small Screen
Friday Night Lights has been an underdog since it premiered in 2006 to inspired reviews but underwhelmed ratings. Last month, the show returned to NBC for a third season (after premiering the 13 episodes on DirecTV), and stars Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, who play a Texas high school football coach and his wife, are lobbing a Hail Mary pass in a desperate attempt to send the show into overtime. Their biggest hurdle? Convincing potential viewers once and for all that its not just about the pigskin. We chatted with TVs most endearing (and realistic) couple about the show, the characters, and their fans.
Lets cut to the chase. Critics love the show and fans are obsessed with it, yet youre still fighting to be seen. What gives?
Connie Britton: We feel that way too! Everywhere I go, people talk about how much they love the show, and they watch it, and all their friends watch it, so its confusing that were not getting the ratings.
Kyle Chandler: With the DirecTV advertising and our shot on NBC, we should be able to draw in a few new viewers. There are so many different types of mediums today that its really difficult to raise your flag higher than the other fellows. Hopefully, the quality will win in the long run, and weve got it in spades.
What do you tell people who still think the show is about only football?
Britton: To me, its about humanity. Its all these lives in a community, intertwined together, and everybody is just doing the best they can. Its something that everyone can relate to. It doesnt matter where youre from. It doesnt matter if youre from a big city. It doesnt matter if you like football or dont like football, or if youre in high school or youre a parent, or whatever.
People say that the Taylors have the most realistic marriage theyve ever seen on TV.
Chandler: Every once in a while, you get a couple of actors who come together and just gel. Connie and I are like that. We got along immediately, and we see eye to eye, and we can agree to disagree when were working on material.
Not unlike a real marriage
Britton: Yeah. Well sometimes push and pull through something, and we both feel better for it at the end of the day.
Is it that realism -- that appeal to everyones humanity -- that makes fans so fanatical?
Britton: I have people approach me all the time who say, I would never go up to [a celebrity], but I have to talk to you because the show means so much to me. It is so special that people actually feel like theyre a part of that life.
You really depict the Southern atmosphere and attitude very accurately.
Chandler: The people here are very down to earth, and they thank us for representing them in such a way that theyre not made fun of or stereotyped, which is the greatest compliment you can get. And it really is all about football down here. As [executive producer] Pete Berg said, High school football and high school athletics are perfect atmospheres to draw drama from. You can present so many different sides of so many different peoples lives.