Once again, the Dillon Pathers live to fight another day–NBC and DirecTV have officially worked out a deal for a two-season, 26-episode pickup for critically lauded but ratings-challenged drama Friday Night Lights.
DirecTV will continue to premiere episodes of the series commercial-free before they air on NBC, with the two entities sharing costs. Production is expected to contine on location in Austin, Texas, although the two upcoming seasons may be filmed back-to-back as a cost-cutting measure.
Executive producer Jason Katims may find himself pulling double-duty next season, since he’s currently on board the NBC pilot Parenthood, starring Peter Krause, Maura Tierney and Craig T. Nelson (and coincidentally also based on a feature film).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, most cast members, including stars Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, are set to return, with the exception of Minka Kelly, who was recently cast in the CW pilot Body Politic opposite Veronica Mars‘ Jason Dohring. EW‘s Michael Ausiello suggested last week that Adrienne Palicki will be exiting the show as well. If true, it’s likely that both characters will appear in a handful of episodes next season to tie up their character arcs, similar to the send-offs that Gaius Charles and Scott Porter had this season.
The two-season pickup will bring Friday Night Lights‘ episode count to 77, making it ripe for syndication.