News and Notes: Friday Night Lights relit

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Friday Night Lights, one of the few bright spots on TV the past two years, is back. That’s the good news. The bad news is if you don’t have DirecTV you’re going to have to wait until after the Super Bowl to watch it.

Confused? Join the club. In an effort to appease those truckloads of fans who mailed light bulbs and tiny footballs to NBC to show their support for keeping the Friday night lights lit, NBC struck a deal earlier this year with DirecTV to allow the subscriber-based satellite service to air the show first.

So tonight, the return to West Texas will be televised commercial-free to the 16.8 million homes with DirecTV. That’s about 15 percent of NBC’s reach. Beyond that, the deal means those without DirecTV or a TV at all won’t even be able to catch up on the episodes online until they air on network television beginning some time in 2009.

Something tells me there’s going to be a bit of a demand for illegal downloads of episodes online after tonight.

As for the show itself, the action reportedly picks up nine months where it left off in the writers-strike shortened season earlier this year with Tami Taylor as principal of Dillon High, Lyla Garrity back in bed with Tim Riggins and Smash Williams graduated but still working at the Alamo Freeze.

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