- Associated Press - Thursday, July 8, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - It might be late in the fourth quarter, but “Friday Night Lights” finally got some Emmy love.

The acclaimed drama was nominated for four Emmys on Thursday, including lead actor and actress in a drama for Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, who play the patriarch and matriarch of Dillon, Texas, the small town, football-mad world of “Friday Night Lights.”

The show was also nominated for best writing in a drama series (by Rolin Jones) and best casting. Though many critics have called it the best show on TV for years, it had previously only been nominated for casting (winning in 2007) and directing.

Jon Hamm, also nominated for lead actor for his work in “Mad Men,” spoke for many when he said Thursday of the show, “I can’t believe it’s taken this long.”

“For a long time, it almost felt like, is there a reason that they’re not nominating this show? Is it not on the ballot? Are they using secret ink? Come on, this show is good,” he said.

“It was just one of those things. It wasn’t pushed, it wasn’t represented well by its studio or network or whatever. It was kind of bounced around on the schedule, but people kept seeking it out.”

At times, it took some work. “Friday Night Lights” has never received strong ratings, and its last two seasons have aired first on DirecTV, then on NBC. In recent seasons, it has rotated its young cast and introduced new characters to keep things running on a tight budget.

In the process, it has continued to realistically portray a town in full, maintaining a humanistic view of its characters, all making their way in ordinary lives.

Jason Katims, head writer and executive producer, said the nominations are “a wonderful and somewhat shocking surprise.”

“Kyle and Connie are the heart of the show. Not one, but both being recognized, to me, recognizes the show,” he said. “In a way, having to wait for these nominations has honestly made it a little sweeter.”

The cast and crew are currently in Austin, Texas, finishing up the last few weeks of shooting season five, which will be the last season for “Friday Night Lights.”

Britton said she was “truly surprised” by the nomination.

“I’ve been feeling increasingly melancholy as I feel the days wearing away,” she said. “This feels like, ‘Oh, it will be so nice to have that because we’re not going to be able to work on this show that we’ve loved so much.’”

Chandler immediately called Britton Thursday morning to celebrate.

“Not to use just a silly metaphor, but that’s what’s this show’s been about,” he said. “I’ve said it for the last five seasons, it’s all about teamwork.”

Of course, not everyone was content with the Emmy results for “FNL.” A quixotic Facebook campaign had urged that Zach Gilford (who plays the quarterback-turned-artist Matt Saracen) be nominated. Nearly 10,000 had joined in the effort.

___

Online:

https://www.nbc.com/friday-night-lights/

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