Dillon, the best fake place in Texas, fades into TV history with final episode of ‘Friday Night Lights’

In a scene from the final episode of ‘Friday Night Lights,’ I am facing away from the field taking a picture of nothing while Josh, the ‘sound guy,’ listens to nothing. Not sure why a still photographer needed a sound guy.

NBC will air the final episode of Friday Night Lights (Channel 5 in Dallas) at 7 p.m. today. Look for me on the field — I play a reporter — big stretch, huh? And my big line — “Coach! Coach!” — will probably be cut as usual.

The East Dillon Lions have made it to the playoffs, which are held this year at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, where they face the Hudgens Hawks. The scene was filmed last summer. Saved me a trip to Austin.

East Dillon probably wins the state championship in this episode, although we filmed it both ways. But we filmed more takes of the Lions winning than losing. And it is the series finale, so no real spoiler alert there.

Tami Taylor’s been offered a job as head of admissions at a college in Pennsylvania. Last week, Coach didn’t want to talk about it. This week they will — while lying on the Cotton Bowl logo in the middle of the field. Me alert: Look for my feet walking by as they decide.

The idea of Tami and Coach moving to Pennsylvania was sort of a pilot for a spin-off that wasn’t picked up. Both Kyle Chandler (Coach) and Connie Britton (Tami) had agreed to continue their characters in the new setting if NBC bought the show.

Whether East Dillon wins or loses, I’m mostly in my familiar place on the sidelines, where I’ve been since Season 1. And I’m easy to spot because — as always — I’m the only person on the field in a blazer and tie. Whether on Hermann Field in “Dillon,” the Cotton Bowl, (old) Texas Stadium, Del Valle Stadium or Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium at UT, I’m always in a jacket and tie on the sidelines. Dillon and East Dillon High, by the way, were both across the street from the main entrance to Austin Bergstrom Airport, and the houses were in various spots around Austin.

—  David Taffet

‘Lone Star’ pulled from Fox schedule

The Jon Voight series, Lone Star, was pulled from Fox’s schedule on Tuesday after poor ratings from its on its second airing on Monday.

Lone Star is set in Houston and Midland, but was being filmed in Dallas. A view from Voight’s “downtown Houston” office overlooked Infomart on I-35 in Dallas. Interiors were filmed at the Studios at Las Colinas.

Critics were raving about the series. Many said it belonged on cable, however, rather than network television.

Although only two episodes aired, they were in the middle of filming episode six. No word yet on whether production on the series shut down today.

Chase, the NBC series also based in Dallas, had a big drop in viewers for its second airing on Monday also.

Fox’s second Dallas-based show, The Good Guys, will finish filming its 20th episode in October. That show has also been low-rated, but is not as expensive to produce as Lone Star, so Fox may stick with it longer.

The three shows are using local actors. Austin-based casting director Beth Sepko is working with all three. Sepko won the Emmy Award twice for her casting of Friday Night Lights, which was filmed in Austin with a series finale at the Cotton Bowl earlier this summer for airing next year.

Any of our readers work with any of these shows? Let us know. We want to highlight your appearances. Dallas Voice associate advertising director Gary Karwacki’s partner Rick Espaillat was in the third episode of Lone Star. We’ll have to wait to see if it gets an airing.

—  David Taffet

As the lights fade on ‘Friday Night Lights’ at the Cotton Bowl, Dallas welcomes 3 new TV series

David Taffet, Channel 21 News, Dillon, at the Cotton Bowl

I’ve spent most of the weekend at the Cotton Bowl, where we filmed the season finale of “Friday Night Lights.” But “FNL” fans take heart. The episode we were filming is the last of season five. NBC is just airing season four this summer. So there’s one more year of Panther, I mean Lion, football. (I still haven’t gotten used to cheering for EAST Dillon.)

And while we may have said goodbye to the Lions and Panthers from Dillon, Texas, we’ve also said hello to three new series being filmed in Dallas beginning this summer.

The Good Guys” on Fox is a cop show. They’ve aired six episodes and were picked up for another seven. The Fox 4 news anchor is played by Clarice Tinsley. One of the cops lives in a trailer under a ferris wheel in an amusement park (Fair Park). It airs Mondays at 9 on Fox.

Chase” has been in production all summer for NBC. The Jerry Bruckheimer (“Pirates of the Carribean,” “Amazing Race,” “CSI”)  show “drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives.”

According to local actors on the set of “FNL” who’ve already worked on “Chase,” it looks like another winner.

A third show, “Lone Star,” is a Fox January replacement. Jon Voight stars as the head of an oil family that likes football. The original series title was “Midland.” So it’s completely different from “Dallas” or “Friday Night Lights.” This takes place in Midland and Houston. It’s just filmed in Dallas. And “FNL” football is based on Odessa Permean and, again, this is Midland.

Why film in  Dallas? We have the equipment, facilities and talent. And several successful series under our belt.

Dallas” and “Walker Texas Ranger” each had runs of more than 10 years. “Prison Break” filmed two of its four seasons in Dallas and its ratings didn’t drop off significantly until its last Los Angeles-filmed season.

So what about the series finale of “FNL”?

No spoiler alerts here. It was all over the news that “FNL” was up in Dallas filming at the Cotton Bowl, which can only mean one thing. The East Dillon Lions made it to next year’s Texas High School playoffs. Or was it the Dillon Panthers? And being the finale, they won. But maybe not.

The ending was filmed both ways, just in case NBC decides to pick up the show for a sixth season. Ratings have (finally) picked up for season four.

But just because it’s picked up doesn’t mean they don’t win. The Panthers won in season one. We’ll have to wait until next spring (or maybe summer) to find out.

And look for me on the field as usual. I stretch my acting ability on this series playing — a reporter. No really. It’s a stretch. I report news for Dallas Voice. I’ve written arts and travel. But on this series, I’m a sports reporter. Completely different. Really. Nothing like when Clarice Tinsley plays Fox 4 news anchor on “The Good Guys.”

—  David Taffet

AIN wants you to be on TV — and help them raise money

The Texas-shot TV high school football drama series Friday Night Lights — currently airing on NBC — will be shooting in the Cottown Bowl next Friday and Saturday and needs extras to fill the stands. That’s a lot of people. But you can go and actually help out the AIDS Interfaith Network at the same time.

Men, women and children 10 and older are welcome to come by either or both July 16 and 17 to participate. If you come, you’ll be expected to be there the entire day, which could run six to 10 hours and could go as late as 10 p.m. Snacks, drinks and even a box lunch will be provided.

So how does AIN figure in? For each volunteer who says they are there through AIN’s initiate, the producers will make a donation to the organization.

To find out more, e-mail Gretchen Kelly at GKelly@aidsinterfaithnetwork.org.

UPDATE: Resource Center Dallas is also participating. The contact person at RCD is Ben Leal at bleal@rcdallas.org.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Blowing up Texas Stadium is a waste of an area asset for the benefit of one person

Texas Stadium was purposely destroyed so that the City of Irving had no choice but to blow it up. It remains a giant billboard hanger until its Sunday implosion.
Texas Stadium was purposely destroyed so that the City of Irving had no choice but to blow it up. It remains a giant billboard hanger until its Sunday implosion.

I love blowing up a building as much as the next person, but the demolition of Texas Stadium in Irving this weekend just pisses me off.

Since buying the team, Jerry Jones spent little on upkeep of the property. By running the stadium into the ground, he forced the area to build him a new one. By the time the team left, Texas stadium was an eyesore.

When Arlington won the bidding war, after Dallas refused to hand over as much taxpayer money as he wanted, the destruction of the Irving property seemed to accelerate.

Irving originally had some wonderful plans for the property — extend the canal from Las Colinas, build apartments and offices and hotels in a park-like setting.

Now we learn that after the stadium is blown up, the property will be used to stage the expansion of Airport Freeway for the next seven years!

The Eyesore in Irving will give way to an even bigger blot.

Surely, the stadium could have been saved and plenty of uses for it could have been found. Yes, scheduling concerts and high school and college football games here would have cut into Jerry Jones’ and Arlington’s profits. Yes, it have cost some money to renovate the property that the Tarrant County Cowboys’ owner destroyed. But blowing it up costs money too. (And yes, I believe that if the team isn’t in Dallas County or the City of Dallas, they should pay us royalties on the use of “Dallas.”)

Although maybe the interior destruction of the facility’s infrastructure was even more significant than the exterior’s deterioration. If that’s the case, a nice big bill should have been sent to Jones.

Am I really getting sentimental about Texas Stadium? No. I just dislike this sort of unnecessary waste. But most people in the area do have their memories of it.

My best memory of Texas Stadium? We filmed the Season 1 finale of “Friday Night Lights” here because the Alamodome (much closer to “home-base” Austin, where most of the series is filmed) was not available. And shameless plug: Season 4 begins airing on NBC on May 7. Filming for season 5 gets underway in Austin this month.

—  David Taffet