Graduation Time: Jason Katims Speaks on Friday Night Lights Departures

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There might be great news for Friday Night Lights fans in the short term: Due to the cancelation of The Jay Leno Show, NBC may bring back this tremendous drama in March.

In the longer run, though, producer Jason Katims has confirmed what we reported in November: Taylor Kitsch won't be returning as a series regular on season five.

"Taylor is shooting a movie [John Carter of Mars] and it doesn't work out with his schedule to have him on as a series regular for FNL next season," Katims said.

Taylor Kitsch Photograph

However, the producer comforted fans a bit by telling E! News that Tim Riggins won't be saying farewell forever:

"I'm sure you will see Taylor next season. We are planning to have him come back toward the end of the season, and possibly do a couple along the way if we can work it out with production."

Friday Night Lights said goodbye to Zach Gilford earlier this season (which is airing on DIRECTV before moving over the NBC), though Matt Saracen is also expected to return at some point.

As for Jesse Plemons (Landry) and Aimee Teegarden (Julie)? Both graduate this year, but "they're going to have significant arcs" on season five, Katims said.

Phew. There's only so much sad casting news we can take at once.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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