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Nashville near deal to continue on CMT

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ABC

There’s new hope for Nashville.

Cable network CMT is near a deal with the former ABC drama’s producers — Lionsgate, ABC Studios, and Opry Entertainment — to continue the series into a fifth season. There is also a Hulu streaming component to the deal, we’re told (Hulu carries the show’s previous seasons).

The move could mean that fans who agonized over last week’s unexpected season 4 cliffhanger may get some resolution. In the finale, Juliette Barnes’ (Hayden Panettiere) plane went missing while her child’s father (Jonathan Jackson) waited for her return. It’s not yet clear if both Panettiere and star Connie Britton will be on board for the CMT version, but Lionsgate TV chairman Kevin Beggs has said previously that the actors are “essential” to the show’s continuation, and Deadline reports that both are still under contract. New showrunners Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick — who were poised to take over the series on ABC — would likely remain for the cable edition, though as of now, we’re told no deal is final.

Though it’s not uncommon for canceled broadcast shows to hunt for another buyer, it’s rather rare that one actually pulls off a switch — especially among dramas. In recent years, comedies like Fox’s The Mindy Project (Hulu) and NBC’s Community (Yahoo) have managed to find post-broadcast homes among streaming companies. Going from a major network to basic cable is trickier; budgets for cable networks tend to be lower than broadcast, and it can be difficult to make the math work for all parties involved. 

Fans have beat the drum for the show’s survival, organizing a virtual viewing party of the Nashville pilot last week under the hashtag #NashRewind. On Change.org, a fan petition to keep the show alive is up to 171,000 signatures. 

With this potential pickup, all the bubble shows from last season will have been either axed or saved; CBS’ fellow limbo drama Limitless ran out of options a couple weeks ago.

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