Is Friday Night Lights, NBC’s critically acclaimed, little-watched high school football drama, headed to ESPN? According to a source familiar with the proceedings, the self-proclaimed “World-wide Leader in Sports” is in talks to bring the flagging Texas-based show into its original programming stable.
It would be a curious move for ESPN. Former NBC entertainment president Kevin Reilly, who ordered a second season of the show despite poor ratings, has called FNL a “women’s show,” despite the gridiron angle. Still, ESPN has been trying to beef up its original content since its first attempt at scripted drama, the over-the-top football soap opera Playmakers, was canceled due to pressure from the NFL. Friday Night Lights, despite an extremely loyal fanbase, has struggled to gain traction at NBC, having moved time slots three times.
“Grumblings about sports shows being aired on ESPN are common,” an ESPN spokeswoman tells Radar of the rumor. An NBC spokesperson could not be reached for comment.