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Friday Night Might
Bill Syken
December 18, 2006
High school football becomes a hot topic on TV
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December 18, 2006

Friday Night Might

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High school football becomes a hot topic on TV

ONCE UPON a time, watching high school football involved sitting on metal bleachers, pulling out home movies or, worst of all, renting Wildcats. But this year networks--and advertisers--discovered that high school football could be a ratings hit or, failing that, a critical smash. Fox Sports Net and ESPN's networks showed 21 live games this fall, and MTV's addictive reality series Two-A-Days, about the on- and off-field exploits of national power Hoover (Ala.) High, averaged nearly two million viewers. Ratings for NBC's Friday Night Lights (right), a drama based on Buzz Bissinger's bestseller about a pigskin-crazed Texas town, haven't been strong, but the show is well-acted and sharply written and has attracted some of the best reviews of any new series. On the ad side, Nike's Briscoe High campaign cast Mike Vick, LaDainian Tomlinson and other NFL stars on a fictional high school squad. Says a Nike spokesman, "For us, passion for football at the high school level is at its purest form." Viewers seem to agree.

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