You all know FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. You might know the movie that came before, and gave Peter Berg the idea to adapt the story into a TV show. You might even know that the FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS movie is based on a non-fiction book by H.G. Bissinger. What you most likely don’t know is that the book was adapted for television once before. Well, sort of. NBC executive Kevin Reilly loved the book and always wanted to adapt it for television, but the movie rights were sold first, so Reilly’s dreams were quickly demolished. Which is why he shepherded a “sort of” adaptation of the book for NBC. As in: Let’s steal the story of the book, make a TV show out of it and not remind everyone that the idea came thanks to Bissinger’s book. Et voilà, AGAINST THE GRAIN was born. If you will, AGAINST THE GRAIN was the predecessor to what would become both the FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS movie and TV show.
Unfortunately, the viewers didn’t give a shit. The show started with abysmal ratings on … you guessed it, a Friday night, and it was apparent from the beginning that the show is not gonna get anything out of the 1993 Fall season. Airing against ABC’s successful sitcom block that started with FAMILY MATTERS, and eventually old-folks show DIAGNOSIS: MURDER on CBS, AGAINST THE GRAIN was quickly buried six feet under. NBC aired all eight episodes produced, burned off the final two episodes around Christmas time, and the show was forgotten in a speedy manner. Because really, did you even know that Ben Affleck starred in this one as the quarterback?