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Two Panthers Benched for New Season of Friday Night Lights

Two longtime Dillon Panthers players won't be on screen quite so much when Friday Night Lights returns for its third season. Entertainment Weekly is reporting that the two players, who have been series regulars, will now just be recurring characters in the upcoming season. The info could be a little spoilery, so I'll put it behind the jump — but, for the record, I don't think it's necessarily bad news. To see the details and hear my thoughts, just


Smash Williams and Jason Street, two of the centerpiece players when the series began, will now be recurring characters only; the actors, Gaius Charles and Scott Porter, will be around long enough to wrap up their storylines, but that's it. As executive producer Jason Katims told Michael Ausiello:

"Pete Berg, myself and our fellow producers have enormous respect for Scott and Gaius both as actors and individuals. In short, we love them. However, both of their characters have now graduated and in the creative spirit of the show, we have decided to give them powerful four episode arcs that will observe their characters as they launch themselves into the next phase of their lives."

As sad as it is to see them go, it makes some sense: Already in the second season, Jason was feeling increasingly irrelevant, his fate and story no longer tied to the Dillon Panthers. It often felt as though his storylines were just shoehorned in. Smash, on the other hand, got some of the strongest material of the second season — but his story wrapped up well enough on its own, and it would be strange to keep leaving Dillon to follow him in college. (It was hard enough just to do that with Coach Taylor at TMU!)

So, without those two around, who will become the heart and soul of the show? Saracen? Riggins? Frankly, if this move means those two get more screen time, I'm happy; FNL was already feeling crowded, and this could help the show get its focus back. Your thoughts?

Photos courtesy of NBC

Join The Conversation
jasonbice15 jasonbice15 8 years
Here's some info they aren't mentionioning about Smash
em113 em113 8 years
no no no more buddy. he already gets too much screen time!
zzzlawyergirl zzzlawyergirl 8 years
More Riggins please. Jason Street's story should have been over last season. zzzzzzzzz. Love the show though!
coachluvr33 coachluvr33 8 years
Fine with me. More screen time for Matt and Riggins and I love Landry too. Even Buddy. The coach. Yea, works for me.
nico-suave nico-suave 8 years
The appeal of Riggins & Saracen is apparent, but I find myself looking forward to seeing Buddy Garrity on screen. The depths of his passion for the Dillon Panthers is frightening, amusing. Throw that man an Emmy!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Love the headline, Buzz! Definitely the right casting move to make once their story lines are wrapped up. Sadly it does seem as though this will be the last season of FNL and, if that's the case, I'll be happy to see more focus on Matt and Riggins for sure!
briggs313 briggs313 8 years
I'm sad to see Street go ... can't say the same for Smash but as long as Riggins and Matt are still there I'll for sure be watching! I love FNL!!!
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
Yeah, I expect the episodes will turn up online via youtube or filesharing after the DirecTV airings, meaning very few people will watch the episodes on NBC, meaning it will get low ratings, meaning it will get canceled. But hey, maybe I'm wrong -- I certainly hope so.
miriah15 miriah15 8 years
mmm Riggins :)
em113 em113 8 years
As long as they don't touch my Matt...I'll tune in next season but I'm not even excited. They only get 13 episodes (its not negotiable) and this idea seems like the kiss of death. Hopefully when/if it gets cancelled NBC will give enough notice for a real goodbye.
sleeping-ugly sleeping-ugly 8 years
I knew it, it makes sense. I'm not very sad, I have to admit I have never loved them as Tim Riggins (how could anyone) or Landry. And Saracen is stil QB1... It would have happened, it's impossibile to mantain the exactly same team through different seasons, so I'm glad is them.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
That stinks! So we only get to watch this year if we have direct TV? Will they air online on NBC previous to 2009?
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
mannylove (& others wondering) — it is definitely coming back to NBC, but there's a catch. The episodes will air first on DirecTV, which basically agreed to split the bill for producing them with NBC. That will start in the Fall of this year. Then, sometime in early 2009, they'll air on NBC. Also, they'll only have 13 episodes, not the normal 21-24 for network shows.
mannylove mannylove 8 years FNL definitely coming back to NBC next season? I've heard different rumors about that.
mannylove mannylove 8 years
I agree...I think this show did have too many "main" characters and was getting hard to follow, some were getting lost, etc. It will be easier to focus on the remaining characters now and give them stronger storylines. Though, I was hoping for something more to happen with Jason's character, since he did start out the show so strongly...oh well.
emilita emilita 8 years
I think this is a good idea. Hopefully it will give the show a fresh perspective. I was just watching the first season on DVD last night and I can't wait for new episodes!
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
I honestly thought Jason Street's character should have exited the show last season, but with the writer's strike they couldn't really do much. I am glad not to see smash anymore either, he was starting to get on my nerves, although it would be good to get updates on how college is going, but not necessarily see him there. I fell in love with this show and hope the pending actor's strike doesn't keep it from coming back on. I can't wait to see what happens with coach's family. I wonder if something awful say, coach's wife left him, if I could be stand in wench? he is so sexy with that accent it is beyond words lol.
Liss1 Liss1 8 years
It's sad but it makes sense. If this means more screen time for Riggins then i am all for it! :)
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