The network also has scheduled the second-season premiere of Still the King.
First, the good news: Nashville — the fan-favorite drama about dreamers and schemers in Music City — will kick off its fifth season on CMT, its new network home, with a special two-hour episode Jan. 5 at 9 pm ET.
The bad news: Connie Britton, may be around for less than half of the scheduled 22-episode season.
Britton starred in the series as country music diva Rayna James during its first four seasons ABC. But while earlier reports had indicated she would join other series regulars — including Charles Esten and Hayden Panettiere — when Nashville transitioned to CMT, The Hollywood Reporter today posted that Britton “has only signed for 10 episodes (so far) of the 22-episode season.”
(Each new episode will be available for streaming on Hulu the day after its CMT premiere.)
On the other hand, The Hollywood Reporter cited sources who claim “negotiations are ongoing with the actress, who also serves as a producer on the series.” So there may still be hope for those of us who were looking forward to seeing Rayna and Deacon Claybourne (Esten) — the happy couple pictured above — live happily ever after. Or at least as happily as anyone ever gets to live on a prime-time soap opera. Production for Season 5 is supposed to begin next month — in Nashville, of course. Stay tuned for further developments.
By the way: Nashville isn’t the only scripted series slated for airing in 2017 on CMT. The music-centric network already has enjoyed some success Still the King, the raucous sitcom starring Billy Ray Cyrus, which will kick off its second season next spring. In March 2017, CMT will premiere Million Dollar Quartet, an eight-episode limited-run series (inspired by the long-running Broadway musical) that focuses on the early years of rock and roll — and the birth of the civil rights movement — with a cast that includes Chad Michael Murray as Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, Billy Gardell as Colonel Tom Parker, Drake Milligan as Elvis Presley, Kevin Fonteyne as Johnny Cash, Christian Lees as Jerry Lee Lewis, Jonah Lees as Jimmy Swaggart, and Trevor Donovan as Eddy Arnold.
Also in development at CMT: A weekly series based on Varsity Blues, the 1999 film about Texas high school football players, and His Wives & Daughters, described as a “soapy, comedic series” about the many women in the life of a larger-than-life country music legend.