When ‘Nashville’ returns, is Rayna sticking around?

CONNIE BRITTON, HAYDEN PANETTIERE

When “Nashville” airs on CMT, we’ll see Connie Britton (left) and Hayden Panettiere, but will Britton stay? CREDIT: ABC

By LIZ MINIET

Fans went to a lot of trouble to help save the TV show “Nashville” after ABC canceled it last May.

All that hard work by #Nashies (the nickname for the “Nashville” fans) helped win the show a reprieve, in the form of a deal where CMT would air the new episodes and Hulu could run them a day later.

As we’ve watched the networks unveil their fall lineups, we’ve wondered, “How long until we start seeing new episodes of ‘Nashville’?” (It’s been three months since the season 4 finale, so if you want a few minutes to check out my recap, go ahead.)

There’s been some news this week, so I think it’s time to catch up.

First, the good news: CMT, the new home of “Nashville,” announced the show’s fifth season will kick off with a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. Jan. 5. (Yes, it’s a Thursday night, not a Wednesday night, but we’ll adjust.)

But now, the “say what?” news: Connie Britton, who’s at the heart of the show as country star Rayna Jaymes, has signed for just 10 of the 22 episodes, according to Entertainment Weekly. EW reported that one source close to the show says they still remain hopeful they’ll get her on board for more. 

Most of the cast members, including Charles Esten (Deacon), Hayden Panettiere (Juliette), Clare Bowen (Scarlett), Sam Palladio (Gunnar), Jonathan Jackson (Avery), Chris Carmack (Will) and the Stella sisters (who play Rayna’s daughters), are expected to return. Aubrey Peeples (Layla) and Will Chase (Luke) aren’t coming back as regulars but could return for some guest spots.

The question of Britton’s status has speculation running wild about what might happen to Rayna. A TVLine.com writer even brought up the prospect of killing off Rayna (though the writer said she didn’t want to see Rayna go away).

After all the efforts to #BringBackNashville, is that what we’d get? I have my doubts.

Also, a tweet from Britton on Thursday could give fans some hope. Does this sound like a star on her way out the door?

Let’s leave things on a positive note.

How do you keep that #Nashie spirit alive between now and Jan. 5?

On Twitter, let me mention a few #Nashie favorites for keeping up with “Nashville” news, in addition to the CMT folks (@CMT): @Nashie_CMT and @Nashville_4ever. 

#NashRewind (which started as part of fans’ efforts to save the show) is still happening at 10 p.m. Eastern time Wednesdays, when the show used to air on ABC. Y’all watch the same episode that week and tweet about it. You can follow @NashRewind to see which episode is the one that week. If you want to take part in #NashRewind, places you can find “Nashville” episodes include iTunes, Hulu and Amazon Video.

And finally, if I’ve learned anything while writing about #BringBackNashville this summer, it’s just how much the fans love Deacon and the actor who plays him. (Check out @CharlesEsten and you’ll get a sense of why.) For those who miss the sound of Esten’s voice, he’s releasing music #EverySingleFriday on Apple Music.

 

 


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