'Friday Night Lights' Stars Dish on the Show's Biggest Celebrity Fans (Exclusive)

Scott Porter, Zach Gilford and 'FNL' superfan Mae Whitman are teaming up for a new recap podcast of the beloved football drama.

It's time to head back to Dillon, Texas, for a Friday Night Lights rewatch with the show's stars!

Scott Porter and Zach Gilford -- a.k.a Dillon Panthers quarterbacks Jason "Six" Street and Matt "Seven" Saracen -- are teaming up for a new podcast, It's Not Only Football: Friday Night Lights and Beyond, where they'll be rewatching each episode of the beloved football drama's five-season run and reminiscing about their time on the show.

Porter told ET he was first approached to do the podcast as a solo project, and initially wasn't interested. 

"But I do enjoy listening to some other rewatch podcasts from shows that I loved and I was like, if I can find a really good partner or two, I think we would really have something here," he recalled. "I called Zach and said, 'Yes, I have an opportunity for you,' to which he initially balked but then very quickly went, 'Oh dude, does that mean we get to hang out a couple of days a week?'"

For their third co-host, the pair recruited Mae Whitman, an FNL mega-fan who has worked with many of the show's stars on other projects, despite not starring in the series herself.

"We brought Mae in because we wanted this podcast to be more than just about Friday Night Lights," Porter explained. "We wanted it to be about life and about friendship and community."

"And also we wanted not just to be me and Scott sitting around talking about ourselves," Gilford chimed in with a laugh.

"We needed a mega fan, is what we needed," Porter agreed. "And I was like, who do we know that's just been chasing Riggins for years?"


Famously a huge fan of Taylor Kitsch's brooding character, Tim Riggins -- even dressing like him for "five Halloweens in a row" -- Whitman said she was thrilled to join the pair in dishing all about their different relationships with the show. 

"The emotional reach, I feel like, of this show is such a big part of it," Whitman shared. "When you do speak to people about this show and what the impact of it was on their lives, it's like it's some deep, core, emotional, special thing. And I think that's, again, what's so interesting about it, is the reach is so different for everybody and it's sort of pervaded not just the industry, but the world with this sort of sensibility of love and trust and themes that are so special. And I feel like when you have something that really affects people in an emotional way, it's really interesting to talk to them about it and to see how it's sort of affected them."

The series has garnered a devoted fanbase throughout the years, including many celebrity fans like Whitman. Porter shared how he found out Lin-Manuel Miranda was a major fan after seeing him on Broadway.

"I saw Hamilton in the last week that he was in the show in New York... The usher comes out at intermission and says, 'Hey, Lin would like you to stick around for a couple of minutes in your seat after the show,'" he recalled. "I walked backstage, and it's Reese Witherspoon, and Sia, and Forest Whitaker, and they're standing in a circle. I'm like, 'Why am I here? Why am I backstage here?' Lin came around the corner, and he goes, 'Clear eyes, full hearts, can't f-ing lose. Let's take a selfie.'"

"As somebody who just like, every step of Lin-Manuel Miranda's career, I've been just like, 'This guy is awesome,' for him to love something I was involved in was really cool," he continued. "George R.R. Martin is probably second on that list. I told him I loved Game of Thrones because it dealt in consequence, and he turned around and said, 'No, I love Dillon, Texas, because it deals in consequence.' I was like, 'Wait, hold on a second. George R.R. Martin. This is insane.'"

Porter also had an epic meeting with a real-life football legend who was a fan of the show.

"Peyton Manning. I saw him at the ESPYs after he won the Super Bowl," he shared. "I just walked up to him and I said, 'Congratulations, I was really pulling for you.' He goes, 'No, congratulations to you, on season 2.' I was like, 'What?' He's like, 'Yeah, my offensive linemen and tight ends, at my house every Thursday, we watch the show.'"

Gilford shared that he's also had some surreal celeb fan encounters throughout the year.

"My favorite is, I was in an elevator going to some meeting, and I stepped in the elevator and it's P. Diddy," he remembered. "I just look at the floor, I'm just keeping to myself, and in my head, I'm like, 'I'm in an elevator with P. Diddy, this is kind of cool.' He goes, 'Hey. Hey, you're that quarterback.' I was like, 'Oh, yeah.' He goes, 'You're a good actor.' Then the doors open, he walks out, he kind of looks back, he's like, 'You're good.' I was like, 'What?'"

It's that kind of impact, the trio said, that made them want to include more than just former cast members in their discussions about the series.

"We want to have the Michael B. Jordans and the Kyle Chandlers and the Connie Brittons and the Jason Katims of course," Porter noted. "But we also want to have guests who are just big Friday Night Lights fans that have never been a part of the show to see why it was impactful and what, if anything, they use from Friday Night Lights if they're in the industry, in film or stage or anything, what they've kind of taken from FNL and used elsewhere. Plus we just want to talk to awesome people who do awesome things and see what their lives are all about right now."

For Porter and Gilford, they're also excited to have some new perspectives on the show after some time away.

"I watched when it aired on TV, like, that week and I've never watched it again since," Gilford admitted. "And it's kind of crazy going back and watching it again because I'm like, wow, this show's really good... And all these memories keep popping back in that you haven't thought about in 15 years."

"I never watched past season 1, so I've never even seen my final episodes on the show. I haven't seen it in its completion," Porter agreed. "So I'm super excited to actually relive parts of it, but then also see all these incredible performances, which was really the reason I watched it in the first place. We had a huge ensemble cast and I didn't get to work with a lot of them ever. Jesse Plemons, or Adrianne Palicki, I never worked with these actors and actresses outside of maybe one scene here or there. So to watch the show originally is to see what everybody was doing and see how incredible everybody was... it's just blowing my mind."

Porter also added that he has a new take on some of the characters now that he's older and "seeing Coach and Tami's relationship in such a different way... seeing the immaturity in Street or Saracen, and seeing all these in a much different way."

However the biggest question of all is, will Whitman finally get to meet Kitsch as part of the podcast?

"It's so complicated. The guy's elusive. I'm not going to lie. He's always like, I'm on a motorcycle here. I'm hiding away from you in a cabin here," the actress said with a laugh. "He's a slippery little guy. So I figured this is great, because it's like, a professional setting. So maybe he won't be afraid."

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

It's Not Only Football: Friday Night Lights and Beyond launches Nov. 10 on PodcastOne.