Friday Night Lights had been victorious in becoming the critics' favorite, however, their success seemed to stop there. The first season of NBC's drama series did not get enough viewers, thus placing below 50 in the Nielsens viewership chart. Despite this, the network decided to renew it for season 2, with the support of the industry's veterans who believed the show would be able to garner Emmy nominations this year. The list was announced last month, and disappointment ensued as Friday Night Lights only garnered two awards, both of which were not on the major category. The show received nods for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series.
More nominations, especially in the major categories, would have boosted the show's popularity, however the show's executives are good with what they have and are looking forward to its second season.
Erin Gough Wehrenberg, NBC's executive vice president of current series commented on Friday Night Lights' Emmy tally, saying that she understood that it was difficult for a new show to get major nominations, and that this incident did not change their minds about the show.
Even with major Emmy nominations, a show is not guaranteed higher viewership, just as what happened with FOX's low-rated but Emmy award-winning comedy series, Arrested Development. The producers are looking at the fate of 1980s' Hill Street Blues which had a lot of struggle at the beginning, but after capturing a few awards along the way, made it to the top, eventually lasting for seven seasons.
Friday Night Lights has a small but loyal fan base, not to mention a strong cast and well-developed characters. But will these factors be enough to save the series despite the doubt and perception of many that the show is for sports fanatics?
John Rash, senior vice president at ad firm Campbell Mithun, shares his comments on the network's marketing of the show, saying, "The Emmys got it wrong but there are no do-overs, and NBC has got to look for another marketing tool to energize the deserving fan base for this show. It's got one more year to catch on, at most."
The network acknowledges this and admits that the wrong message may have been sent.
"We're altering the marketing message a little bit and selling elements of the show people may not have known were there," Wehrenberg said. "We'll work hard to get the message out that the show is not entirely about football."