Everything We Know About ‘Nashville’ Season 5

Paul V. Rea

The cancelled ABC show Nashville will not be the same when it returns on a new network this winter. While most of the show’s stars will make the move over to CMT, a couple of high-profile characters will not. Verified news about the show’s future is hard to find but we’ve been able to collect a few genuine facts for Nashville fans.

New Episodes Begin in December

According to series creator Callie Khouri, the show will return in December on CMT. The 22 new episodes will also run on the Hulu streaming platform the day after broadcast. This news comes to us via the Grand Ole Opry where Nashville star Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne) performed last week.

Luke and Layla won’t be Regulars

Series stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere are set to return as Rayna Jaymes and Juliette Barnes but they won’t have their on-screen nemeses with them.  Will Chase (Luke Wheeler) and Aubrey Peeples (Layla Grant) might come around for an episode or two but won’t be series regulars. It seems Chase is staying with ABC and will feature in their new sci-fi/thriller/time travel show Time After Time.

Rayna James and Juliette Barnes (Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere) perform on Nashville
Rayna James and Juliette Barnes perform a duet on Nashville

TVLine reports other returnees include Charles Esten, Sam Palladio (Gunnar Scott), Jonathan Jackson (Avery Barkley), Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Connor), Lennon Stella (Maddie Conrad), Maisy Stella (Daphne Conrad) and Chris Carmack (Will Lexington).

New Nashville Episodes Every Week

One of the biggest complaints fans have about broadcast network shows is the sporadic scheduling of new episodes. CMT head of development Jayson Dinsmore says they don’t plan to do that with Nashville. “I can honestly tell you that I don’t believe we will do a broadcast pattern where they go up for two episodes and then down for two. I think if and when we settle on the schedule there will be a long run of episodes so that the audience doesn’t have to wait to come back and forth,” Dinsmore told Deadline.

 as Gunnar, Avery, Scarlet and Will Lexington from Nashville
Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Chris Carmack

It’s not clear yet if they plan to split the 22 episodes into two seasons, as many other cable-based shows do currently, or simply run them straight through. Whichever pattern they pick, Dinsmore says they’ll keep the fans foremost in their minds. “I think audiences who are so loyal, much like the Nashville fan base, I think they will appreciate that we’ve given them a lot of episodes in a row.”

Behind the Scenes Changes

Even before ABC pulled the plug, Nashville showrunner Dee Johnson was on her way out. Lionsgate, which owns Nashville, tapped Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz as co-showrunners before the show moved to CMT and the pair decided to stay on with the new network.

Zwick and Herskovitz will likely give fans more of what they love about Nashville. With My So-Called Life, thirtysomething and Once and Again on their TV resume, they have a proven track record with the type of multi-generational drama and romance that sits at the core of the show.

‘Nashville’ remains in Nashville

You’ll continue to see many of Nashville’s landmarks like the Bluebird Cafe, Cumberland River Bridge and the Ryman Auditorium when the show returns. Filming will remain in and around the city. Production of the show is staying in Music City mainly due to an $11 million incentive package from the Nashville city government ($1million), the State of Tennessee ($8.5 million), the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation ($1 million) and the folks who own the Ryman and the Grand Ole Opry ($1 million).

 on the show Nashville
Connie Britton as Rayna James appears at the Grand Ole Opry

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry tells The Tennessean that spending taxpayer’s money on their namesake television show is worth it, “Not only will hundreds of film production workers be keeping their jobs, we will also be keeping the greatest advertising tool for Music City that we have ever seen.”

Tennessee economic and community development director Randy Boyd agrees and says more episodes of Nashville means those free ads for the city will continue to run for years to come.  “Landing this fifth season of ‘Nashville’ helps push the show into syndication and allows it to live on for decades. The show has been a terrific marketing tool for the state and our musical heritage.”

Extras casting for Nashville begins at the end of this month and they could begin filming sometime in September.

Paul V. Rea
A monster science created but could not destroy; Paul V. Rea is a radio, TV and web journalist based in Clarkesville, Georgia. Paul is addicted to television of all genres and can often be found mouthing off about things he sees @paulvrea on Twitter.