CMT is rescuing Nashville — again! The cable network is renewing the musical drama for a second round in its new home and marking the show’s sixth season overall.
Only this time, the number of Nashville are being cut back. Next year’s season will be 16 episodes. Previous cycles on ABC and CMT have all been either 21 or 22 episodes. The order reduction is not surprising given that most dramas on cable are 10-to-18 episodes; CMT initially ordering 22 hours for this year was considered unusual. Episodes will continue to stream on Hulu the next day.
The Nashville midseason return date has now been set as well: Thursday, June 1.
And if that weren’t enough Nashville scoop, there’s also some casting news: Jeff Nordling (Big Little Lies and Desperate Housewives) is coming on board in the recurring role of Brad Maitland, who’s described as an “extremely successful, charming, egotistical, narcissistic owner of the most successful record label in Nashville.” As previously announced, Rachel Bilson (Hart of Dixie) and Kaitlin Doubleday (Empire) will join the series in the second half of season 5.
“The devoted Nashie fan base has generated record-breaking numbers for CMT,” CMT President Brian Philips said. “Nashville ranks as the network’s highest-rated and most-watched show in the network’s history, averaging 2.1 million weekly viewers.”
Charles Esten, who plays Deacon Claybourne on the series, posted a Facebook live video from the Nashville set, where cast members, including Hayden Panettiere, celebrated the renewal. Watch that above.
CMT is also releasing this preview of the remainder of the season — watch at the top.