You can save Friday Night Lights, or you can turn the page!

My favorite network TV show is facing fourth and long, says Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly.

Go figure. FNL may be the only show on television that treats religion authentically in the context of daily life. It is one of few willing to look issues of teen sexuality–and its consequences–in the eye, and it features perhaps the most realistically happy marriage on television. Yet it can’t seem to find an audience.

Tucker writes:

In real life, Lights is the underdog series that a rah-rah cult audience and critics love, but one that can’t find even a modest victory in the ratings. It consistently finished third in its original Tuesday-at-8 p.m. time period, and isn’t doing much better in its new Wednesday-at-8 p.m. slot, still averaging around 6 million viewers. Indeed, the drama of whether NBC will commit to a second season of this gridiron soap opera is as awkward and tense as whether the wheelchair-bound former star quarterback Jason Street (Scott Porter) will break up with his devoted but conflicted cheerleader girlfriend Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly). NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly professes love for the show but also cites ”the biggest disconnect” he’s ever experienced: ”People talk and write to me to say they love it, but not enough people watch. It’s a sports show, but it’s a relationship show; it’s a soap, but it’s got social issues. What makes it great makes it hard to market.”

Wednesdays at 8, Eastern. You don’t have to like football to love the show. Give it a try.

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