UPDATE AS OF TUESDAY NIGHT (JUNE 7): There are rumors that CMT might be picking up “Nashville.” The possibility of an announcement about the show’s future Wednesday night at the CMT Awards has put off plans for another #NashRewind on that night (June 8), said Paul E. Zukowski, who started #NashRewind. Instead, fans can focus on the awards show and the good news they’re hoping for. At the moment, it looks like #NashRewind will resume next Wednesday to keep fans energized, he said.
By LIZ MINIET
As fans of TV’s “Nashville” await word of their show’s fate and embrace the #BringBackNashville campaign, they’re gearing up for a second round of #NashRewind, where “Nashville” fans will watch the second episode of the show’s first season at 10 p.m. Eastern time/9 p.m. Central time on Wednesday (now moved from June 8 to June 15) and live-tweet about it. Though ABC canceled the show last month, Lionsgate TV, the studio behind the show, is trying to find it a new home, and fans are helping to make the case for a fifth season.
We wondered what the story is behind #NashRewind and got in touch with Paul E. Zukowski (whose stage name is P-E-Z), who says he started that part of the #BringBackNashville campaign. He’s a singer-songwriter and music publisher (ASCAP) who has worked as an extra in about a dozen episodes of “Nashville” in seasons 3 and 4.
With the end of the show’s run on ABC but Lionsgate TV pursuing other options, #NashRewind is a way to keep fans engaged on Wednesday nights when the show usually aired (10 p.m. Eastern time/9 p.m. Central time). It’s preceded by #NashCrash at 9:55 p.m. Eastern/8:55 p.m. Central to #BringBackNashville.
“I said let’s rewatch the show starting at the pilot,” Zukowski said via email. “It’d be on Hulu and on iTunes. We can have a viewers party. We live-tweet it just like we do every other week.”
And how long will this go on?
“The plan is we keep going each week until we have our new home on another network,” he said.
Last week, several of the show’s stars, including Charles Esten (Deacon) and Clare Bowen (Scarlett), encouraged fans during the first #NashRewind and shared their own memories. Zukowski credited Ed Amatrudo (who plays Glenn, Juliette’s manager, on “Nashville”) with getting the stars involved and blowing up interest in the online event.
Zukowski noted that a lot of the show’s extras are songwriters and musicians just trying to make ends meet, and he’s encountered plenty of visitors to the city who have been inspired by the show.
“This is one of the most dedicated fan bases I have seen in my 30 years in the music business,” he said.
Fans around the world have been helping keep the pressure on to bring back “Nashville.”
There’s a Twitter account called #BringBackNashville (@Nashie_abc). You might think it’s run by somebody else in Nashville, but it’s the work of Emily Byerley, 17, who lives in London and runs the account with her cousin Olivia Walker, who’s from California.
“Nashville has been a part of my life ever since it aired back in 2012,” said Byerley, who chatted with us via messages on Twitter. “When the announcement came that ABC had canceled the show, I was pretty devastated just like many ‘Nashies’ around the world. Then the
#BringBackNashville campaign came about and I thought this was the greatest opportunity for all the Nashies around the world to come together to help promote and bring back our show ‘Nashville.’ … None of us would have been able to really pursue this campaign if it wasn’t thanks to the cast of ‘Nashville’ still believing that the show could be picked up and to Lionsgate TV for having so much faith left in the show, that they have been looking for other network stations to pick up ‘Nashville.'”
For Byerley, it’s not just a TV drama.
“The music of ‘Nashville’ is something very special, and the fact that the cast go the extra mile and do ‘Nashville’ in concert tours around America and now internationally to the UK and Ireland just shows how passionate the cast of Nashville are towards their fans and how much the fans love the music.”
She pointed out that with the devoted “Nashville” fan base, “whoever decides to pick the show up will be gaining very quickly from us all.”
There’s also the Nashville Forever (@Nashville_4_ever) Twitter account. It’s run by Shira Gur, a writer, who also talked with us via Twitter messages.
“As fans of a show like ‘Nashville’ who was always on the bubble, we knew it will not last forever. And yet, there’s something that feels wrong with this ending. We got an ending that doesn’t respect or reflect the vision of its creator and the journey of the characters (and it has nothing to do with that cliffhanger). Doing a rewatch of selected episodes from the series is a reminder there truly is much more story to tell and music to be played,” said Gur, who first went to Nashville from Israel thanks to the show. She spent almost a year there and hopes to return to Nashville soon.
If you want to take part in #NashRewind, places you can find “Nashville” episodes include iTunes, Hulu and Amazon Video.
Besides the #BringBackNashville and #NashRewind pushes online, there’s a petition on change.org asking CMT, Hulu, Netflix, TNT, AMC, Amazon, NBC, CBS or even ABC to save the show. The petition had more than 170,000 supporters as of Monday night.