ABC Family Acquires Basic Cable Rights to NBC’s ‘Friday Night Lights’

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ABC Family has acquired the basic cable television rights to the Emmy® Award-winning television series “Friday Night Lights,” in a deal with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution, it was announced today by Tom Zappala, Executive Vice President, Program Acquisitions & Scheduling, ABC Cable Networks Group, and Frances Manfredi, Executive Vice President/General Sales Manager, Cable and Non-Theatrical Sales for NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

The deal gives ABC Family the rights to five seasons of the critically acclaimed series. ABC Family is tentatively set to begin airing the series’ first season in September 2010. The fourth season of “Friday Night Lights” is currently airing on NBC (Fridays, 8 p.m. ET/PT.)

“We’re thrilled to add NBC’s critically-acclaimed series ‘Friday Night Lights’ to the mix of our defining original and quality acquired series,” said Zappala. “The series is beloved by critics and viewers, and fits in perfectly with ABC Family’s blend of optimistic, heartfelt programming.”

“‘Friday Night Lights’ is a perfect fit for ABC Family’s sensibility for the modern day family program,” said Bruce Casino, Senior Vice President Cable & Ancillary Sales NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. “ABC Family will introduce this award-winning show to a whole new audience segment where the series can thrive in its new environment.”

Expanding on the hit feature film and best-selling book “Friday Night Lights,” the award-winning show centers on life in Dillon, Texas, where high school football brings the community together — and the drama of small town life threatens to tear it apart. The series debuted on October 3, 2006 on NBC. Beginning in October 2008, the third and fourth season of the drama began airing on satellite provider DirecTV’s The 101 Network and rebroadcast on NBC.

Hailed as one of the top ten shows by such publications as Time magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times and TV Guide, “Friday Night Lights” also has been honored three times (2006/2007/2009) as an American Film Institute (AFI) Television Program of the Year, received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award in 2006 and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series in 2007.

The series is executive-produced by Peter Berg (the film “Friday Night Lights,” “Hancock”), who also wrote and directed the pilot. Joining Berg as executive producers are Jason Katims (“Parenthood”), Brian Grazer (“Frost/Nixon,” “The Da Vinci Code”), David Nevins (“Arrested Development”) and Sarah Aubrey (“The Kingdom”). “Friday Night Lights” is a production of Universal Media Studios, Imagine Entertainment and Film 44.

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