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.