ABC is heading back to Nashville, renewing the series for a second season.
The Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere country music soap opened the season with high expectations thanks to an impressive cast and pedigree including Oscar winner Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise). Adding Boss‘ Dee Johnson as showrunner ahead of its October bow, the series launched big with 9 million viewers and a 2.8 ratings among adults 18-49 — topping CBS’ CSI and rookies Chicago Fire and Arrow, but down year-over-year compared with last year’s Wednesday at 10 p.m. occupant, Revenge.
The series from Lionsgate TV earned a full-season in November and has released two soundtracks so far, tapping into ancillary revenue from downloads of the T Bone Burnett-produced original music from the series. Despite a lagging political story line, the early critical darling has continued to earn rave reviews for its supporting players including Charles Esten (Deacon), Sam Palladio (Gunnar), Clare Bowen (Scarlett)and Jonathan Jackson (Avery), with a tour featuring the four breakouts is in the works. The series is averaging a 1.9 in the demo and 6 million total viewers.
File this one under: Headlines we never thought we’d write!
Sources tell E! News that ABC’s delicious (but normally not deadly) drama series Nashville (starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panetierre) will be doing a bit of housecleaning among the cast before the first season closes out—with a shocking storyline viewers wouldn’t expect.
According to insiders, there will be two character deaths in Nashville‘s gripping final episode, slated for May 22. (Nashville airs Wednesday nights.) And the DOA actors won’t be coming back on the show…assuming it returns in the fall.
Nashville has yet to receive a second-season pickup by ABC, but ABC insiders tell us it’s “looking good” for another year. ABC will announce its entire 2013-14 lineup on May 14 at the New York upfronts, where the fates of Happy Endings (not likely to return but likely to move networks) and Revenge (likely to return) also will be decided. (As previously reported, Revenge also has a major death coming in the season finale.)
Nashville sources also tell us the season finale was not shot as a series finale, but rather sets up some seriously dramatic storylines for season two.
ABC also announced today that Brad Paisley will appear as himself in the season finale, performing opposite Rayna (Britton) and Deacon (Charles Esten).
So…whip out those dollar bills (for betting, thankyouverymuch) and tell us: Who will die? Which characters are most likely to be goners?
And P.S., if you guess Connie or Hayden, we’ll be forced to publicly ridicule you. (Don’t make us do it!) We can assure you that the two leading ladies, without whom the show couldn’t exist, are safe.
Lust. Love. Heartbreak. Three things that make for a great country song. And great television. At Saturday’s PaleyFest panel for freshman music drama Nashville, moderated by TV Guide Magazine President and Editor-in-Chief Debra Birnbaum, the cast and producers spilled on what’s coming up behind the scenes — talk of a tour is in “vague stages” according to star Charles Esten — and on screen. After Rayna’s split from Teddy (Eric Close), and Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and Gunnar’s long-awaited night of passion, we were a little more concerned with the characters’ coming and goings in the bedroom rather than the recording studio. To find out what’s next, read on:
Rayna and Deacon: Just as Rayna Connie Britton) is back on the market, Deacon will be shaking things up with a veterinarian (Susan Misner). “For anyone who is in the industry and that’s all they know, it gets real claustrophobic and to find somebody who’s not part of that world is immediately a breath of fresh air. And, of course, to find someone that’s not crazy impressed with you — what could be more attractive than that? She doesn’t even know Deacon is a great guitarist so immediately he’s hooked,” Esten told TVGuide.com. “Just because you have your one — your Rayna, your magnetic north — doesn’t mean that you don’t ever connect with anybody else. We connect, and that’s what makes it interesting and difficult.”
Rayna might not stay solo for long either. “She’s definitely going to work on the album, which means the possibility of Liam coming back into her life,” executive producer Dee Johnson said. But don’t give up hope for Rayna and Deacon just yet. “They’re going to have to come back together at some point. The question is: Is the potential relationship that they and everyone else pictured as the golden time when they could be together — is it going to be that easy? I doubt it,” Esten said.
Scarlett and Gunnar: They finally did it! But the fact that their hookup happened hours after Gunnar (Sam Palladio) learned of his brother’s death will definitely put them in a grey area. “Sometimes reality can be different than fantasy,” Johnson said. “Gunnar is in a totally different place. That’s going to complicate their relationship.” However, the two won’t simply pretend that their night of bliss never happened. “Yeah, they give it a shot. It’s never particularly easy. They start under such difficult circumstances,” Palladio said. “So it’s difficult, but hopefully that relationship will be become stronger through it.”
Unfortunately, just as soon as Scarlett seems to have gotten over her ex-boyfriend Avery (Jonathan Jackson), Palladio teases that there will be a “new Avery” in the mix in the form of their new neighbor Will (The O.C.‘s Chris Carmack). However, unlike the original Avery, Will will also be a good friend to Gunnar. “[Will] is another device to move Gunnar from this depression and this loss into getting some life back into the guy. He provides a nice tension again,” Palladio said. “Will is a songwriter so there are possibilities for new music to happen between those two.” But first, Gunnar must get over some serious writer’s block. “His head is spinning right now and he’s in a bad place. Scarlett is really a catalyst to try and shake him out of that and try and get the concentration back onto his music. You find that he stops writing. He stops caring,” Palladio said. “When we go through these situations, it affects us in such different ways. For him, it’s the loss of creativity and it’s a wanting to put all of his focus into finding out what’s happened to his brother and trying to solve the mystery himself with little or no success.” Whether he gets back on track in time to save his professional partnership with Scarlett remains to be seen. “They’re a team but will they stay a team?” Johnson said.
Juliette and…: A woman like Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) never stays single for long. “I don’t think you can put Juliette in the room with any male character and not consider [romance] a possibility,” Johnson said with a laugh. More specifically, Johnson said “there might be” sparks between Juliette and her mother’s rehab counselor Dante (Jay Hernandez). “[He] allows her to work through some issues,” she said. “Of course, there are going to be some transference issues that come into play in terms of her mother’s feelings for Dante, and how does that impact Juliette?” Although Panettiere said during the panel that “some clothes might come off,” she was tight-lipped about whether Dante would be the one doing the removing. “He’s going to impact [the family]. It’s a fine line to walk, but he could help, or he could hurt,” she said.
Nashville returns with new episodes on Wednesday, March 27 at 10/9c on ABC.
Get out your pen, Rayna — you’re gonna want to write a song or two about this.
Nashville has cast Susan Misner as someone outside the music industry who catches Deacon’s eye, TVLine has learned exclusively.
Misner’s character is a new vet in town who’ll show up later this season and stick around for several episodes — long enough to show a lovelorn Deacon what his fixation on Ms. James might be costing him.
“For the first time, he’s interested in somebody who is very unlike Rayna and very unlike Juliette,” says series creator Callie Khouri. “It’s the first time we see him with a person that you go, ‘Wow, so that’s what his life would be like if he wasn’t the guitar player to the stars.”
Misner’s recent TV credits include Person of Interest, The Following, The Americans, Blue Bloods and The Good Wife.