An Oral History of Friday Night Lights describes the genesis of the Best Married Couple on Television:
[Series creator Peter] Berg: [In the original Friday Night Lights movie], Connie Britton's role was sort of Pretty Wife Clapping in the Stands, which is about the shittiest job an actress can have. At least Talia Shire got to own a pet store and go ice-skating with Rocky.
[Actress] Connie Britton: When Pete got in touch with me and said, "We're going to make a Friday Night Lights TV show. Why don't you come play that part?" I was like, "No way!" The only thing worse than playing a nothing part in a movie is [playing it] for years and years on TV.
Berg: She said, "Are you fucking kidding me? You think I'm going to spend 10 years sitting on a hard-wood bleacher getting splinters in my ass and cheering on Kyle Chandler? You're out of your mind." I said, "I promise. We'll create a character. We'll give you a job. We'll give you dimension. We'll give you a real voice."
[Imagine Television executive David] Nevins: I had to convince her that the wife was going to have a much more significant role, and that the marriage would be the heart of the show. But you never know if that's going to be true. I tried to convince myself so I could convince her.
Britton: It really was a leap of faith, initially, because I only had three scenes in the pilot script. So I remember even going into the pilot and saying, "OK, Pete, just so we're clear: What's here on the page in the pilot, that's not what we're talking about, right?"
[Actor Kyle] Chandler: I'd never met Connie. I didn't know her from her work either, and I don't think she knew me from mine. But it didn't take long – probably 25 steps on the way to go get brunch – that I had an idea that she was going to be a lot of fun to work with.
Berg: I was really worried. Connie and Kyle developed a very flirtatious, precocious relationship right off the bat. And Kyle, of course, is married. They announced they were going to drive to Austin together from L.A. to move out, and I threw myself in front of that bus. I said it was a horrible idea for multiple reasons. They ignored me. Connie dismissively told me she knew what she was doing and she didn't need my advice. I was convinced they would be having some torrid affair by the time they reached Santa Fe and Kyle's marriage would be over by the time they got to Austin. I was wrong about that, thank God.
Friday Night Lights has just ended in the States after five seasons; over here ITV4 showed season 2 last year – only three years behind the NBC run of the show – at 1am. Just to make the show's that little bit harder to get into, ITV4 ran episodes five nights a week. It's just a crime that such a fantastic show got buried in the wee small hours.
I know that at first glance Friday Night Lights looked like a corny, sentimental show about a bunch of pretty high school kids playing American Football, but trust me: it was so much more than that.