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Loberg in cast of NBC football show

Long an avid television viewer, Hanna Loberg is now regularly appearing on-camera in a network TV show.

Loberg, the daughter of Bob and Spring Loberg of Ellsworth, portrays a cheerleader in the cast of "Friday Night Lights," which debuted on NBC-TV last month. The show about a high school football team and its community is broadcast Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in this area on KARE-TV, channel 11, in the Twin Cities and WEAU-TV, channel 13, in Eau Claire.

Although the actress was frequently part of the plays performed locally when she was a student at Ellsworth High School and later took both college and private acting lessons, her career had gone in a different direction, her mother said Wednesday. The 2006 broadcast journalism graduate of the University of Minnesota has mostly been employed in sports publicity and promotion.

"She joked the headline for this article should really read 'athlete turns cheerleader'," her mom said, referring to her latest employment and how it represents a merger between two of her major interests.

Ironically, the fictional team featured on the nationally shown program has the same nickname as the one from the high school where her daughter graduated: "the Panthers," Mrs. Loberg said. Coincidentally, a promotional piece about this season's EHS squad, copies of which are displayed in many locations in Pierce County, includes the legend "Friday Night Lights."

The U of M grad originally had a job with the sports department at KSTP-TV, channel 5, in the Twin Cities, her mom said. She covered high school football games throughout the region and contributed to a weekly wrap-up program about them.

She's also worked for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL), where she had a sidelines role as well as compiling programs and writing articles, plus the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL in a similar capacity, Mrs. Loberg said. Although her parent had doubts, she left the Vikings for sports marketing work in Austin, Tex., switched to a different job there, then left it after becoming disillusioned.

Around that time, she saw an opportunity on the computer internet for auditions to be in the NBC show, her mom said. She was chosen for the part from among 60 girls.

"They film right in Austin," Mrs. Loberg said.

An e-mail her parents recently received from her tells the show's premise: "The Dillon Panthers are a high school football team trying to take home the championship. In Texas, football is everything. These players are treated as professional players are. The whole town is crazy about following them everywhere. The show consists of football and drama every high schooler has gone through. The cheerleaders are the best!"

The Lobergs were unable to see the first episode when it aired Tuesday due to a conflict with their schedules, but videotaped it, her mom said. She understood their daughter was on-camera in a scene in a diner. Since joining the show in July, she's been offered a speaking part in an upcoming installment and advised to hire an agent.

Her fans back home include her grandparents, JoAnn (Ailport) and Henry Dreistadt of River Falls. For more information about the TV series in which their granddaughter appears, visit .

"Friday Night Lights" airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on

KARE-TV, channel 11, in the Twin Cities and WEAU-TV, channel 13, in Eau Claire