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Eric Shanks

Friday Night Lights

The savior of “Friday Night Lights” arrived not via a touchdown pass but, rather, a satellite dish.

With NBC unsure whether it would reup for season three of the low-rated but critically beloved high school football drama, DirecTV and its exec VP of entertainment Eric Shanks arrived on a white horse and worked out an arrangement to air the series on its entertainment channel, 101 Network. The channel is available free to the company’s 17 million subscribers.

“It’s no secret that our business is about acquiring new customers and retaining the most profitable ones,” says Shanks. “We really believe that the passionate fan base from a premium show like ‘Friday Night Lights’ has the ability to acquire new customers and reward our most loyal customers.”

The first of 13 episodes will launch on Oct. 1, and then the Peacock will rebroadcast the season early in 2009.

“I’m a huge fan of the show and have been since the beginning,” admits Shanks. “When the opportunity came up, we jumped right on it.”

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