It appears that the partnership between NBC and DirecTV has proven beneficial to everyone involved. Last year the two companies agreed on a deal where DirecTV would air the third season of Friday Night Lights in the fall, with NBC repeating the episodes starting in January 2009.
This week it was officially announced that the partnership will continue for at least two more years. Friday Night Lights was renewed for two additional 13 episode seasons, to be aired in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 TV seasons. Like this season, DirecTV will get the first-run rights with NBC to air the episodes at a later date.
The NBC/DirecTV partnership could signal a new way to save critically acclaimed but low-rated series. Friday Night Lights struggled in the Nielsens for its first two seasons and looked headed for cancellation before the deal was struck. With the arrangement, NBC shares the production costs with DirecTV, DirecTV builds their reputation with original programming, and fans are happy to see their show continue. Everyone wins.
Although nothing has been reported regarding similar deals, NBC may possibly use the success of this model to save other low-rated but beloved and acclaimed shows, such as Chuck or Life. Furthermore, DirecTV, an independent satellite broadcaster, is not owned by NBC Universal, which means it could make similar arrangements with other networks.
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