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Friday Night Lights Cuts Two

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Friday Night Lights, NBC's critically adored, barely watched football soap, was granted a stay of execution at the 11th hour when the network struck a partnership deal with DirectTV (we also like to think that our badgering of Ben Silverman had something to do with it). Things, however, are not all good in Dillon: Entertainment Weekly reports that two of the most popular characters, Smash Williams (Gaius Charles) and crippled quarterback Jason Street (Scott Porter), have been taken off contract and will only appear on a recurring basis in season three for "both budgetary and creative reasons."

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We can live with the creative rationale—Smash has graduated and is off to college; it doesn't make much logistical sense to keep his story arc intact—but the budget reasoning is worrisome. The show, with its elaborate outdoor shots and well-choreographed football sequences, was one of NBC's pricier dramas; we're happier than anyone it's coming back, but we hope economic considerations won't cost it its heart.

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