By Michael Ausiello
Updated March 06, 2010 at 02:02 PM EST

Friday Night Lights

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Image Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/DirecTVThis makes me sad: One of my favorite Friday Night Lights peeps, Jesse Plemons, will not be returning for the show’s fifth and final season — at least not full-time.

Executive producer Jason Katims confirms that the actor’s contract option was not picked up. “With Jesse — as with previous cast members who have moved on — Pete Berg, myself and the producers of the show let the storytelling guide us,” he explains, “and we feel we didn’t have substantial enough storylines to justify keeping such an immensely talented actor from pursuing what we know will continue to be a very successful career.

“Jesse has created one of Friday Night Lights finest and most beloved characters,” Katims adds, “and I can tell you this was not an easy decision.”

But like many of FNL‘s dearly departed vets, Plemons — whose college-bound character, Landry, joined BFF Matt in Chicago in the season 4 finale (which just aired on DirecTV) — may return on a guest star basis. “We hope he will come back for the season opener,” says Katims, “and several other episodes later in the season, depending on his availability.”

The news follows my earlier scoop that another original FNL castmember, Taylor Kitsch (Riggins), will not be back as a series regular either.

Production on FNL‘s fifth season gets underway next month in Austin. The fourth season debuts on NBC on April 30.

Thoughts? Will you miss Landry? Are you, like Katims, hopeful that he’ll return to Dillon on a part-time basis? Sound off below!

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Friday Night Lights

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