The premiere ("Last Days of Summer") of the critically acclaimed drama, whose first-year ratings made it a tough choice for the Peacock to renew, tied CBS rookie drama Moonlight for its hour's lead among young adults, according to Variety.
Competition for both will pick up this week when ABC enters the fray with new crime drama Women's Murder Club.
Looking at Friday preliminary Nielsen estimates, Friday Night Lights scored a 2.2 rating / 7 share among adults ages 18-49 and 6.5 million total viewers, tying in the key advertising demographic with week two of the new vampire detective drama Moonlight on CBS (2.2/7 in 18-49, 8.3 million).
Repeats of ABC's Private Practice (1.6/5, 4.9 million) and Fox's K-Ville ran farther behind (prelim 1.2/4, 3.3 million).
Honored with a Peabody award and tabbed AFI's program of the year, Friday Night Lights won the hour outright in adults 18-34 (1.7/6) and male demos.
In both 18-49 and total viewers, Friday Night Lights ratings were up 10 percent from its average over the final month of its first season.
As for Moonlight, it's not a juggernaut either, but it managed to hold onto most of its demo lead-in from 8 p.m. winner Ghost Whisperer (2.4/8, 8.7 million) and won the slot by 2 shares in adults 25-54 (3.1/9).
Numbers (2.7/9, 9.5 million) capped the Eye's winning night, up a tick vs. its season preem of a week ago. ABC's 20/20 moved up to second (2.4/8, 7.2 million), with NBC's Las Vegas slipping to third (2.1/7, 7.4 million).