Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere Confirmed for ‘Nashville’ Season 5
After much speculation and a cliffhanger that left the future of one character in serious question, Nashville stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere have been confirmed to return to the show when it begins its fifth season this fall.
TVLine reports that both stars will be back for the upcoming season, which will see the Music City-based drama move from its former network home at ABC to CMT. Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Lennon Stella, Maisy Stella and Chris Carmack will also return, while Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples, who played Luke Wheeler and Layla Grant, respectively, will not be series regulars moving forward, as previously reported. It is unclear if the actors might make guest appearances as those characters.
The news is particularly momentous for Panettiere, who struggled with postpartum depression for much of the show's fourth season. The writers and producers decided to have her character, Juliette Barnes, go through the same thing onscreen, and eventually wrote the character out for part of the season so that Panetierre could seek treatment.
ABC canceled Nashville in a surprise move in March, and the series finale included a cliffhanger ending in which Panettiere's character disappears when her plane goes missing, snatching away the hope of a happy reunion with her husband and child.
The show was picked up by CMT in early June, as part of a deal that also includes Hulu, and while it's unclear how writers will work it out, Panettiere's return will certainly make the Season 5 premiere a much-anticipated episode to kick off the show's run at a new network.
The show will features a new writing staff and focus when it comes to CMT. Series creator Callie Khouri recently hinted that fans could expect something a little harder-hitting from the upcoming season, saying that the show might take on the collapse of the music industry due to piracy and streaming. But it will still keep its main themes in place.
“They are very interested in telling the same kinds of stories that I am, which is more emotional but less soapy,” she says (quote via CMT). “You still have to have things that hook you emotionally. People have to feel involved.”
Nashville producers at Lionsgate TV declined to comment on TVLine's story.
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