Its Official: Friday Night Lights Will Return

It looks like clear eyes and strong hearts really can't lose.

Friday Night Lights will definitely be back for another season, thanks to a deal with DIRECTV and NBC.

We reported last month that it looked like FNL was going to live out the rest of its existence as part of a DIRECTV deal to put the remaining episodes on one of the sat networks channels, possibly as a pay-per-view.

But according to the Associated Press, the deal is actually better than expected:

Rumors of such a rescue for "Friday Night Lights" began circulating last month, but a final deal wasn't struck between the network, studio, producers and satellite service until this week, the participants said Tuesday. They agreed that negotiations were driven by a shared mission to give the series renewed life.

Of course, it doesnt hurt matters that DIRECTV VP of Entertainment Eric Shanks is a fan of the show and approached NBC about doing a deal.

So here's how its going to play out: Beginning October 1st, the episodes that have not aired will play on DIRECTV's fledgling, original content channel "The 101." After that, NBC will air episodes in 2009.

The AP article didn't clarify if the episodes that NBC will air later will be the same eps DTV puts up, but either way, it looks like the show will be making a return to the small screen soon. Exec Producer Jason Katims has said that he wants to get the writers back to work within the next 48 hours to start churning out stuff for the next season.

While the show has never been big in the ratings area (it ranked 117th overall for network prime time shows), it has kept a small, but fiercly dedicated fan base that has worked overtime to keep the show on the air.

I personally have been a fan of the show since the first episode and it will be interesting to see if the producers do anyting different with the series now that they have some breathing room to tell some stories.

But I hope this doesnt mean that we see more obscure story arcs that push us further and further away from the shows original premise of life centered around Texas high school football. I dont care about so-and-so's deadbeat brother, or the nerdy, damn-near albino guy trying to win the heart of the bitchy, yet way too hot for high school girl. Show us what life is like for Texas high school football, which - if you've ever been to a game - really does have a life all its own.

Stay tuned.

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