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Friday Night Lights: Connie Britton reveals the women who inspired Tami Taylor

The actress tells EW’s Binge podcast about her journey to find out who Tami Taylor was when the show began.

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Virginia Sherwood/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

If you can’t sit in the stands — next to Grandma Saracen, of course — and cheer on the Panthers as they battle to bring the title of State Champions back to Dillon, the least you can do is listen to two Friday Night Lights fans talk about it, right? In that case, we have good news: It’s officially game time for the podcast debut of EW’s Binge of Friday Night Lights! (For those who hate sports, that means you can listen to it now.)

Season 2 of EW’s Binge podcast is all about Dillon, Texas, the perfect marriage that is Tami and Eric Taylor, and whether Julie is a character worth rooting for. In the premiere episode, EW’s Samantha Highfill and Darren Franich dissect the greatness that is the Friday Night Light‘s pilot, all the while getting insight from a handful of people involved with the show. We’ve got everything from Gaius Charles talking about Smash’s raps to Scott Porter revealing which heartbreaking pilot moment was improvised.

And to give you a little something extra, here’s a story direct from Connie Britton about her journey to find out just who Tami Taylor was when the show began:

After filming Friday Night Lights, the movie, Britton wasn’t exactly looking to play Tami Taylor again. After all, her part in the film ended up being very small, a “thankless character” as she describes her. But when the film’s writer/director, Peter Berg, came to her with the idea of making the movie — which was first a book — into a television show, he pitched it as “an opportunity to give these women a voice.”

And with that opportunity came another: This time around, Britton would be playing a fictionalized version of the character, as opposed to the film, in which she played Sharon Gaines, a real person. Starting with her experience on the film as her base, Britton was them able to craft a character. “I was able to let Tami Taylor be more than just what I had read on a page,” Britton says during season 2 of EW’s Binge podcast. “Tami ended up being an amalgam that was inspired by Sharon Gaines but because I knew these other women much better, she really was sort of an amalgam of, particularly, a lot of the women that I grew up with.

“I grew up in Virginia, but there’s something about the southern woman that is very specific to me, and was something that I just really understood and knew in my bones very well and loved, loved, loved and still love very much,” she continues. “I was able to really pull from many of the different women that I had known growing up and throughout my life and kind of just put them into a big mash.”

To hear more from Britton – as well as costars Zach Gilford, Gaius Charles, Scott Porter, and many more – on the making of Friday Night Lights, you can listen to the first episode of EW’s BINGE of Friday Night Lights below, where hosts Samantha Highfill and Darren Franich will spend the coming weeks exploring the show that taught us all the importance of a good coach. Subscribe to the podcast now, and be sure to tweet any questions/comments to @samhighfill and @darrenfranich or email them to binge@ew.com. EW’s Binge is produced by EW’s Cristina Everett and edited by Will Malnati of At Will Radio.