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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose! Former UGA attendee Kyle Chandler takes home an Emmy for best actor for a drama

Kyle Chandler won his first Emmy tonight. CREDIT: AP

Kyle Chandler won his first Emmy tonight. CREDIT: AP

Former University of Georgia attendee Kyle Chandler took home a surprise Emmy Sunday night playing Coach Eric Taylor on the beloved but never terribly high-rated “Friday Night Lights.”

The drama ended its five-season run this past summer on NBC (and two seasons on DirectTV.)

The show finally received several Emmy nominations and won two tonight, including Chandler’s win over the likes of Jon Hamm on “Mad Men,” Steve Buscemi on “Boardwalk Empire” and Hugh Laurie on “House.” That’s tough competition! Given “Friday Night Lights” was canceled this year and Chandler had never won an Emmy, he was a potential sentimental favorite but not an obvious favorite.

Chandler was raised in Loganville and attended George Walton Academy.

[UPDATE, 9/19/11 11:53 a.m.: Chandler's NBC bio said he was a "drama graduate" of UGA, which I took at face value last night, but when a commenter below questioned that, I checked with UGA.  He attended from 1984 to 1988 but did not graduate. A UGA press spokeswoman just emailed me this:

Kyle Chandler did not receive a degree from UGA. He's a matriculate who was last here in 1988. We DO claim him as a Bulldog, however. :) ]

His previous big TV role was starring in CBS’s “Early Edition” in the late 1990s. He also had a memorable role on “Grey’s Anatomy” where his character was literally blown to smithereens.

On “Friday Night Lights,” as Coach Eric Taylor, Chandler had an incredibly natural rapport with his fictional wife Tami Taylor, played by Connie Britton (who lost to Julianna Margulies for best actress in a drama.) Taylor was stern at times but truly cared about his kids. His Panthers won the state championship season one. He dabbled briefly coaching at a college level, returned to West  Dillon but was fired season three after failing to win the state championship again. In season four, he coached at a newly created rival East Dillon school, where the team finished 2-8. But in season five, East Dillon won the state championship and when his wife got a job opportunity outside Texas, he moved to Philadelphia to coach at a high school in Bucks County.

FNL also won a writing Emmy. And yes, the show was extraordinarily well written and paced.

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65 comments Add your comment

Stefanie

September 18th, 2011
10:28 pm

This was SO deserved (Connie Britton deserved to win, too)! What an incredible show this was and Chandler and Britton were the most natural, real married couple I’ve ever seen on tv. I do believe there’s a box set of “Friday Night Lights” in my future! Congratulations, Mr. Chandler!

Spell much?

September 18th, 2011
10:44 pm

That would be Steve BUSCEMI…

Supersize that order, mutt

September 18th, 2011
11:00 pm

I had no idea he was from Georgia or attended UGA. He DEFINITELY deserved the win, and so did Connie Britton, and for that matter, so did the series. But one out of three, PLUS the writing emmy won earlier, is still good. And Stefanie, I agree that they were an incredibly believable married couple.

Shan

September 18th, 2011
11:09 pm

Good for him! I used to love watching him on Early Edition! Now that was a good show.

Janet

September 18th, 2011
11:11 pm

Five years in the making. Chandler’s nuanced performance was lit from within (as was Connie Britton’s). Also glad the writing on FNL was recognized.

UGA GRAD

September 18th, 2011
11:27 pm

Rodney, you might want to check but I don’t think that Kyle actually graduated from UGA. He attended in the mid-80’s but left to move to Hollywood prior to finishing.

Rodney Ho

September 18th, 2011
11:29 pm

@UGA GRAD. The NBC official bio for Kyle says identifies him as a drama graduate.

http://www.nbc.com/Friday_Night_Lights/bios/Kyle_Chandler.shtml

Just Sayin'

September 18th, 2011
11:41 pm

Margulies, not Margolies

Rodney Ho

September 18th, 2011
11:43 pm

@Just Sayin’ Thanks. Can never remember how to spell her darn last name!

JTex

September 19th, 2011
12:07 am

So very, very long in coming. And while I don’t begrudge other winners their awards, FNL should have swept the category, if for nothing else than five seasons of incredible, naturalistic performances and mostly superb writing. There are so many actors on this show who deserved Emmy nods in past seasons…the episode a bit back where Saracen’s father died comes to mind – the scene between Gilford and Chandler towards the end was one of the best pieces of performance that I’ve ever seen.

But then, there are so many other phenomenal performances – Brad Leland’s evolution as Buddy Garrity was masterful – subtle and incremental and powerful. If anyone has been truly cheated, it’s him. Taylor Kitsch during the last season was remarkable. They ALL were remarkable.

That’s what made FNL such a superlative program – strong performances across the board, performances that weren’t caricatures, that had…subtlety, reality. My undergraduate degree is in theatre, and I have a decent professional stage resume – the kind of work that the least actor in FNL was able to accomplish is what every student actor strives for.

So, while FNL never received the recognition it deserved, I am thrilled that, at least, it finally got at least a nod or two. Kyle Chandler certainly deserves his award – he was amazing – but it’s a travesty that Connie Britton wasn’t similarly honored; after all, it was frequently the interplay between Coach T. and Counselor/Mother/Principal Taylor that made the program seem so very, very real.

Egbert

September 19th, 2011
12:10 am

Well, he definitely graduated from George Walton Academy, and the GWA family is proud of him!

Bookeem Woodbine Jr.

September 19th, 2011
12:30 am

Hey Rodney,

I know this is off the subject but I couldn’t find a related story to post this under. I just wanted to ask if you knew who was winning the 3-7 PM ratings war between 680 the Fan and 790 the Zone since Chuck & Churnoff went to the afternoon drive?

Carole2

September 19th, 2011
1:39 am

I watched this show from the beginning and it was a trip every week into the lives of the people of Dillon, TX. This show was the kind of show parents should have made a point of watching with their teens. The writers had true insight into the lives of teens and what happens when the parents are not around. Having taught high school in Georgia the football fever that took over Dillon each fall is real and felt in every small town in Georgia! ESPN is showing reruns of the show on Thursday and Friday of each week. TV Guide printed an interview with Jason Katims and he hinted that a movie may actually be in the works. I already have the entire five seasons on DVD and I’m happy I can go to Dillon whenever I please.

Sally

September 19th, 2011
7:43 am

Such a great show. I’m so sad it won’t be coming back.

GR

September 19th, 2011
8:05 am

BTW the writing Emmy was for the final episode, which I believe is one of the best series finales ever.

Atlantan

September 19th, 2011
8:48 am

I am sad that Friday Night Lights is over. It was the only show that my wife and I truly liked and watched together. All the actors were special. Happy for Kyle’s win….Cheers

Heather T.

September 19th, 2011
8:51 am

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Dynamic show, superb cast with an innate ability to do what some shows can’t even forcefully achieve: give one heck of an organic, believable performance. “FNL” just felt like a great reality show vs. a well-crafted drama. Well done to the whole cast & crew.

As Riggins would say, “Texas FOREVER!” ; )

the dude

September 19th, 2011
8:54 am

HOW BOUT THAT DAWG.

bill

September 19th, 2011
8:59 am

Actually coach Taylor goes to work in Philadelphia at a High school not a college. It was a real sacrifice for him to leave Texas but the suburbs of Philly are big time high school football areas. Bucks county Almost as crazy as Georgia but not quite.

Reality

September 19th, 2011
9:12 am

Rodney -

Just cause his bio says he graduated from UGA, doesn’t make it so. How many these days put false info on their bios? I mean, it isn’t even a resume, it is just publicity stuff.

It’s fine if he did ‘just’ attend UGA without graduating. But, no one should make light of actually earning a diploma! It kinda takes away from those that did finish.

kelly&carriefan

September 19th, 2011
9:12 am

One of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen! SO happy for Kyle Chandler. I also loved that ex-FNLer Minka Kelly (Lyla) was the one to hand him his award!

Reality

September 19th, 2011
9:14 am

Rodney -

One last thing…. I would think that as a news reporter you would check your facts way beyond just depending on his bio information!!!!

The Truth

September 19th, 2011
9:14 am

Is it just us, or does it seem that whenever a commercial needs an idiot, it’s Always a male (white)!

Delbert D.

September 19th, 2011
9:25 am

Excellent choice. Chandler also had a starring role in recently Spielberg’s movie “Super 8″ and a small part Spielberg-Hanks’ series “The Pacific”

PEK

September 19th, 2011
9:47 am

I actually cared what happened to the characters in this show. How stupid was NBC not to promote this show. Rarely were any of the actors guests on talk shows–even on their own network.
Kyle Chandler was in another series with Rob Lowe–The Lyons Den–a complicated lawyer drama in which he played a character who was a bit evil and self serving. I loved the acting and the story. Of course, it got yanked before it could go anywhere. Isn’t everyone tired of werewolves and vampires???

DG

September 19th, 2011
9:48 am

Franklin CAS has him as a theatre graduate. I’d say he probably is.

notbspn

September 19th, 2011
10:09 am

FNL is the best show most people have never seen, and one of the best those who have watched have witnessed. Amazing show definitely worth the DVD investment for those who havent, I promise you wont be dissapointed. Season 1 is as good as anything ever written for network television.

JeanE

September 19th, 2011
10:17 am

I am thrilled for Kyle Chandler, it is unbelievable that he won but richly deserved! I have been a Friday Night Lights fan from the beginning, it was a wonderful show, just wish Connie Britton had won as well, they were so real as a married couple. And, he is such a cutie, yeah Kyle!!!!!!

Who Cares?

September 19th, 2011
10:19 am

Reality:

Who cares if he graduated or not?? Geeze, he won an Emmy that’s the point of the matter. You would think you would have better things to do than critique single every word Rodney writes. If your that concerned about what the guys bio says, write him, hell…call him and tell him that he should change his bio to read, he “attended UGA” and he is taking away from everyone else who has. I’m just saying.

KJ

September 19th, 2011
10:33 am

Insert joke about hiring him to coach UGA football.

Rodney Ho

September 19th, 2011
10:35 am

@Reality There was no way last night I could confirm with UGA that Kyle had earned a diploma 100%. I relied on an official bio, which isn’t the worst source on Earth. Sure beats TMZ. I am checking this morning with UGA now that its PR folks are in the office to confirm.

Keenan

September 19th, 2011
10:42 am

One of the best shows ever. I am so disappointed it is gone. As for Kyle, he is phenomenal. Connie Britton was amazing in her role, as well. I loved him way back in Early Edition. Very handsome, beautiful eyes, hope to see him on television again.

LabLady

September 19th, 2011
10:42 am

Congrats to Kyle, UGA grad or not!!!
I miss FNL!

UGA Dawg

September 19th, 2011
10:43 am

@Reality – Who the heck cares?

Roadrunner

September 19th, 2011
10:51 am

Best show on TV for 5 years, period. Surprised it lasted that long since only unrealistic ‘reality’ shows & vapid sitcoms seem to find a home on TV now days…

Cheryl

September 19th, 2011
11:22 am

The show is continuing on The Longhorn Network but unfortunately, we don’t get that channel in Atlanta on Direct TV!

Reality

September 19th, 2011
11:24 am

@UGA Dawg – Figures that a person with your handle would not see the importance of getting the facts right….

Reality

September 19th, 2011
11:25 am

@UGA Dawg – By the way, the headline link on the front page says something to the effect, “UGA Grad wins Emmy”.

Shut It!

September 19th, 2011
11:26 am

Yeah Reality, SHUT IT!

AB

September 19th, 2011
11:27 am

Agreed, best show on “regular” TV in years.

And Reality, chill out!

T

September 19th, 2011
11:30 am

Wow, I thought we were the only one’s that watched this show. FNL was by far one of the best shows on television. I can’t believe it didn’t have more viewers. The actors were so well cast ranging from Coach Taylor all the way down to the scrubs on the team. Of course, Gracie Bell could have been a a little cuter but over all FNL was definite appointment TV. Peter Berg did an amazing job directing! FNL is my idea of good family TV.

Lady K

September 19th, 2011
11:32 am

I loved watching him on Early Edition. Loved that show. I was happy to see him win last night. Not sure if it was staged or not, but loved when that first female nominee went to the stage and all other nominees followed her. I thought that was nice. But once Molly was presented with tiara and roses, it had to have been staged. Why else would that have had that???

Anyway, Jane Lynch needs to come back next year. Her makeup was spot on (lol).

Liz

September 19th, 2011
11:38 am

I agree, so deserved. This was one of my favorite shows and some of the other cast members should have gotten noticed, but we will take this one for the coach. The show was so real and I will miss it. Congrats! Very much deserved.

quintivious' mama

September 19th, 2011
12:08 pm

i loved him on early edition. @reality–really?

what?

September 19th, 2011
12:32 pm

All dawgs are actors

Friday Nights Never The Same

September 19th, 2011
12:33 pm

This show was the best show no one watched! It is a shame it is gone forever. I cried at the end of the show but they at least gave us a glimpse of their lives now…Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose! Never forget it!

Eric

September 19th, 2011
12:48 pm

BIG WHOOP! WHO CARES!!!

Gahoundawg

September 19th, 2011
1:02 pm

Congratulations to a great guy, good friend, Dirt Bike Buddy and classmate from George Walton Academy!!!!

Dawg4Ever

September 19th, 2011
1:05 pm

Well, we can call Kyle Chandler an “alumnus” of the University of Georgia. And proud we are to do so.

Gahoundawg

September 19th, 2011
1:05 pm

Well, he definitely graduated from George Walton Academy, and the GWA family is proud of him!

—————-
Stamp!!!!