Freckles (freckles929) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

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A Small Satellite Audience for ‘Friday Night Lights’

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Now that “Friday Night Lights” is premiering on a satellite television channel, it is time to re-evaluate its definition of success.

After two seasons on NBC, the critically acclaimed drama about a small Texas town and its football team made its debut Wednesday on DirecTV. It will run on DirecTV exclusively for four months before starting its third season on NBC in February. The arrangement defrays the program’s production costs.

“Friday Night Lights” averaged 6.2 million viewers on NBC, a relatively low rating for a broadcaster. Wednesday’s DirecTV debut reached an exponentially smaller audience – 400,000 – but then again, the satellite universe is also smaller. DirecTV counts 17.1 million subscribers, while NBC reaches more than 100 million homes.

During the hour of its premiere, “Friday Night Lights” ranked No. 7 amid all of basic cable available to DirecTV viewers. (That note is important: DirecTV is measuring its competition based on its subscriber base.) Within the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, “Friday Night Lights” ranked No. 2 with women and No. 7 with men, the company said.

The series is on The 101, a DirecTV channel dedicated to original programming. New episodes will be shown Wednesdays at 9, with repeats on Fridays at 9.

For DirecTV, the more important metric than ratings may be subscribers, because it is using “Friday Night Lights” as an enticement for new customers. The New York Times wrote about the innovative deal between DirecTV and NBC in April:

NBC knew it needed a partner, and an opportunity arose in January when Eric Shanks, the executive vice president for entertainment at DirecTV, struck up a conversation with his friend Ben Silverman, the co-chairman of NBC Entertainment. DirecTV licensed the rights to the “first window” of the show, meaning that DirecTV subscribers will see the new episodes four months before the broadcast audience.

A past DirecTV-NBC deal, the purchase of exclusive rights to the soap opera “Passions,” fizzled after 12 months.

Executives would not disclose the new deal’s value, except to call it “significant.” Each episode costs about $2 million to produce; Universal Media Studios will produce 13 episodes this year.

Referring to the next season’s numbers, Mr. Silverman said: “If our rating was just 15 percent lower, we would be doing so much better through the way we structured this deal.”


Gah, I love this show sfm. For those of you who've seen the latest episode already, what did you think?

I really liked it. Matt and Julie are absolutely adorable, and I'm really glad Julie isn't as annoying as she was last season. As always, the scenes with Tami and Tyra were great, Riggins is hot, and I don't think there has been one episode of this show that hasn't made me cry. Yes, I'm pathetic, but I don't even care. This week it was the scene with Matt and his grandma. It's such a shame that FNL never gets recognized at awards shows, because even when the writing isn't flawless, the acting still makes it worth watching.
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