Play on! Return to Texas in ‘Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: A Friday Night Lights Rewatch Podcast’

TV & Film September 28, 2021
Listen to ‘Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: A Friday Night Lights Rewatch Podcast’

Audacy’s Cadence13 presents “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: A Friday Night Lights Rewatch Podcast,” based on the Emmy and Peabody award-winning sports drama that aired from 2006-2011. The TV show that swept the nation, garnering fan and critical acclaim, now lives on in podcast form. This podcast is hosted by Derek Phillips and Stacey Oristano who played the on-screen married couple, Billy Riggins and Mindy Collette-Riggins.

IRL friends Derek and Stacey could not wait to travel back to Dillon, Texas to rewatch the show and recap some of its most unforgettable moments. Fellow cast members, writers, and directors will join in on the fun for episodes and share their experiences working on the show. Throughout the season, they’ll share behind-the-scenes stories and answer fan questions. Have a question you’d like to hear answered the show? Send an email to

Friday Night Lights took place in rural Texas, focusing on a high school football team and its goal of winning the state championship. Coach Eric leads the team through training and games, and the stakes are high. While dealing with struggles on and off the field, the show also centers on Eric’s family, and follows lives of several townspeople. While watching the show, we saw issues that are still relevant today in small towns across America.

Derek’s audition for Friday Night Lights

In the first episode of “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: A Friday Night Lights Rewatch Podcast,” Derek and Stacey dove right into behind-the-scenes anecdotes. Derek discussed his audition. At that time, Derek said he was broke, lived in Dallas, and ran a theater company. He stayed at a friend’s house who lived close to the audition and impressed casting! Derek was promptly called back for a second audition with show creator Pete Berg and producing partner Sarah Aubrey. Pete complemented Derek’s acting, and said if he was cast, to bring the cool boots he wore to the first day of filming.

Two hours after his second audition, Derek’s agent called with the great news — he was cast as Billy. He shared the news with his roommate at the time, Steve Walters, who wound up starring on the second season of Friday Night Lights as the guidance counselor and also produces this podcast. Derek was called in to start filming the next day and he had to borrow money for travel. He was happy to receive per diem payments for the pilot.


We hear how Derek’s first scene was shot in bed with an actress and the crew laughed at his tighty-whities and chicken legs. Derek shares how Pete’s scripts were like outlines, and he’d often make spur-of-the-moment changes. Derek’s first scenes for the pilot were improv. We also learn that Derek played high school football, but he wasn’t the best player ever.

The Pilot

The pilot took 3 weeks to film in February and March of 2006. Then, by mid-May, the show was a go and announced at the Upfronts, a platform for networks to announce the shows slated for new seasons. Although Derek was featured in the pilot, he wasn’t sure if his character would be on the show until July. Stacy’s character arrives for episode 7. She’ll tell her audition story in an upcoming episode.

Friday Night Lights was based on Buzz Bissinger’s book. The series starred Connie Britton, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons, Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki, Taylor Kitsch, and Michael B. Jordan. It’s now available to stream on, Peacock TV, and other streaming platforms.

Want to relive your favorite moments of Friday Night Lights? New episodes of “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: A Friday Night Lights Rewatch Podcast” are posted weekly.

Listen to ‘Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: A Friday Night Lights Rewatch Podcast’

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