By Vlada Gelman
May 20, 2010 at 09:21 PM EDT

Image Credit: Justin Stephens/NBCOne of the best parts of upfronts week is finding out which of your favorite actors will be back on TV in the fall with new shows. Sometimes, the returning faces have been long absent from the small screen. (Keri Russell, we missed you so!) Other times, it makes the end of one great show a little more bearable. Take Friday Night Lights, which is in production on its fifth and likely last season. Several cast members are already preparing for the end. FNL alum Adrianne Palicki plays one of two wives to a Texas con artist in Fox’s Lonestar. New cast members Jurnee Smollett and Matt Lauria have also lined up new shows. Smollett stars opposite Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell in CBS’ The Defenders. Lauria costars in Shawn Ryan’s Ride-Along, which will air midseason on Fox. Several FNL alums also had pilots that weren’t picked up: Scott Porter (Nomads), Minka Kelly (Mad Love), and Zach Gilford (Matadors). And Kyle Chandler passed on the lead in Steven Spielberg’s Terra Nova pilot for Fox.

But one name is missing from that paragraph: Friday Night Lights’ MVP Connie Britton. Never has the saying, “Behind every great man there’s a great woman,” been truer than when it comes to Coach (Chandler) and Mrs. Coach (Britton). Maybe scheduling didn’t permit time to shoot a pilot. Perhaps Britton wants to take a break or pursue movies after the show signs off. But I can’t help being selfish and wanting her on my TV every week. It may be too late to jump abroad a pilot, but I still have some unsolicited advice for Britton’s next TV role:

Prime Suspect. NBC decided to postpone its remake of the BBC series starring Helen Mirren because they couldn’t find the right actress to play the detective. NBC, meet Connie Britton, your right actress. Oh wait, I think you’ve already been introduced.

The Good Wife. This show is the type of intelligently written, adult drama that would make good use of Britton’s talents. Maybe taking on the lead in a new series is too daunting after five years on one show. How about a supporting role as a friend of Alicia’s? If there’s anyone who can hold her own against the formidable Julianna Margulies, it’s Britton, and Alicia could definitely use a confidant outside of work. Also, they could discuss how dreamy Will (Josh Charles) is over coffee.

Go to cable, where most of the best roles for women are and shows get more time to find an audience. We suggest Showtime, which counts Mary-Louise Parker, Toni Collette, Edie Falco and Laura Linney amongst its talented leading ladies.

PopWatchers, what would you like to see Connie Britton do next? Are you excited to see the Friday Night Lights cast in new shows? And are you, like me, hurting a little bit that Porter and Gilford’s pilots didn’t get picked up? Those boys are far too talented not to be stars.