Austin-shot 'Fri­day Night Light' gets 4 Emmy nom­i­na­tions

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Dale Roe

The Austin-filmed TV drama “Fri­day Night Lights” picked up four Emmy nom­i­na­tions Thurs­day, in­clud­ing act­ing nods for stars Con­nie Brit­ton and Kyle Chan­dler.

Austin cast­ing di­rec­tor Beth Sepko was again hon­ored for her work with the pro­gram. Sepko is a dou­ble nom­i­nee; she was also rec­og­nized for her work on the HBO movie “Tem­ple Grandin,” which was filmed in Cen­tral Texas and earned 15 nom­i­na­tions. The fourth “FNL” nom­i­na­tion was for writ­ing, for the episode “The Son.”

The nom­i­na­tions come af­ter a hard push for Emmy recog­ni­tion by DirecTV, which en­listed fans’ help in cre­at­ing a plea to Emmy vot­ers and took the rare step of send­ing those vot­ers the en­tire el­i­gi­ble sea­son. In a cost-shar­ing

deal, episodes of “Fri­day Night Lights” de­but on the satel­lite tele­vi­sion provider’s 101 Net­work and run later on NBC, which is cur­rently air­ing the se­ries’ fourth sea­son.

The show has been an un­der­dog. The drama has reg­u­larly ap­peared on crit­ics’ lists of most egre­gious Emmy snubs. Its first three sea­sons net­ted only five nom­i­na­tions: three for cast­ing, one for di­rect­ing and one for a short doc­u­men­tary on Austin, and one win, for cast­ing, which Sepko shared in.

“We’re thrilled that the show is fi­nally get­ting the at­ten­tion that it de­serves,” said Patty Ishi­moto, vice pres­i­dent of en­ter­tain­ment and gen­eral man­ager of the 101 Net­work.

Set in a small Texas town where foot­ball is ev­ery­thing, “Fri­day Night Lights” fol­lows the strug­gling Lions of East Dil­lon High and their coach, Eric Tay­lor (Chan­dler). Brit­ton plays Tay­lor’s wife, Tami, the prin­ci­pal at the other high school in town, which ousted her hus­band as coach last sea­son.

Brit­ton learned of her nom­i­na­tion from a cousin who lives in New York.

“I was shak­ing. I was in shock,” she said by phone Thurs­day. “I mean, I re­ally … I was like, ‘no.’ I ac­tu­ally thought it might have been a mis­take at first, like, ‘Are you sure?’ I think we had re­ally got­ten to a point where we just didn’t think that the show was re­ally go­ing to be on the Em­mys radar. It was just such a won­der­ful, com­plete sur­prise.”

Ishi­moto would not spec­u­late on whether the Emmy love could ex­tend the run of the show. It’s widely be­lieved pro­duc­tion will cease when film­ing of the fifth sea­son ends in a few weeks. Brit­ton sug­gested as much on Thurs­day. “It’s been a lit­tle bit melan­choly, like the show is re­ally end­ing and it’s go­ing to be a big change,” she said. “So just to have this com­pletely sur­pris­ing ac­knowl­edge­ment of the show … it’s just a great feel­ing.”

Brit­ton and Chan­dler’s chances dur­ing the Aug. 29 cer­e­mony on NBC are as iffy as a Hail Mary pass: Both per­form­ers face com­pe­ti­tion in their cat­e­gories from Emmy fa­vorites, in­clud­ing last year’s win­ners Glenn Close (“Dam­ages”) and Bryan Cranston (“Break­ing Bad”).

Sepko said she was thrilled for her col­leagues in front of the cam­era. “I’m so proud of the ac­tors, and they make me look good,” Sepko said. “But I was def­i­nitely sur­prised to be rec­og­nized four years in a row for ‘Fri­day Night Lights.’”

She added that, if any­thing, she thought she might re­ceive a nom­i­na­tion for “Tem­ple Grandin.” The film, star­ring Claire Danes as the tit­u­lar autism ad­vo­cate, was shot in and around Austin be­gin­ning in late 2008 and re­ceived 15 nods, in­clud­ing the one for Sepko’s work.

Paul Al­varado-Dyk­stra, Cen­tral Texas rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Texas Mo­tion Pic­ture Al­liance, says other lo­cal Emmy nom­i­nees for the movie in­cluded Gabriella Vil­lar­real (set dec­o­ra­tion), Charles Yusko (key hair­styl­ist) and Mered­ith Johns (key makeup artist).

“Tem­ple Grandin” em­ployed 898 Tex­ans, con­tribut­ing $3.5 mil­lion in wages and an­other $2.5 mil­lion in ac­com­mo­da­tions and other ma­te­rial ex­penses to the Texas econ­omy, said Bob Hud­gins, Texas Film Com­mis­sion di­rec­tor. He es­ti­mates that “Fri­day Night Lights” has spent $75 mil­lion in Texas alone and pro­vided an av­er­age of 175 crew jobs a year, not count­ing ex­tras. More than 90 per­cent of those jobs went to lo­cal crew mem­bers, and 96 per­cent of the show’s tal­ent hires have been lo­cal.

“This is a hugely ex­cit­ing and proud day for the TV in­dus­try in Texas,” Al­varado-Dyk­stra said. He said the nods for “Fri­day Night Lights” and “Tem­ple Grandin” are val­i­da­tion that “some of the very best tele­vi­sion is be­ing made right here in the Lone Star State.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.