CMT orders 22 episodes: 'We will treasure 'Nashville' like no other network'
It’s official: Nashville has survived being canceled and has found a new home on CMT.
Studio Lionsgate confirmed Friday that country-themed cable network has picked up the drama for a fifth season following its axing last month by ABC.
New showrunners Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (Thirtysomething), who ABC enlisted months ago to help freshen the series if renewed, are on board as well.
The deal also includes a new pact with Hulu to continue streaming the musical drama, with new episodes appearing on the service days after they debut on CMT.
What’s impressive — and a bit surprising — is the deal is for a full season of the show (22 episodes). Cable network dramas usually have much shorter seasons (typically 13 episodes).
What’s not yet entirely clear, however, is to what extent stars Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere will be participating in the CMT version of the series. Lionsgate TV chairman Kevin Beggs has said previously the stars are “essential” to the show’s continuation, but the cast deals have not yet been struck. We’re told Nashville actor Charles Esten and several other cast members will celebrate the news at a concert in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday, along with CMT host Cody Alan.
Whether the leads are in the new season or not, the move means fans who agonized over the unexpected season 4 finale cliffhanger will receive some resolution. In the that last episode, Juliette Barnes’ (Panettiere’s character) plane went missing while her child’s father (Jonathan Jackson) waited for her return.
“CMT heard the fans,” said CMT president Brian Philips. “The wave of love and appreciation they have unleashed for Nashville has been overwhelming. Nashville is a perfect addition to our evolving line-up of big music specials, documentaries, and original series. We see our fans and ourselves in this show and we will treasure it like no other network. Nashville belongs on CMT.”
“CMT and Hulu are the perfect combination for our iconic and beloved series Nashville and we want to thank the incredible fans for their unwavering support — #Nashies, you helped make this possible,” said Kevin Beggs, chairman of the Lionsgate Television Group. “We also want to extend our appreciation to the State of Tennessee, City of Nashville, and Ryman Hospitality for their unending support. They have been a key ingredient to the continued success of this show and we’re thrilled to extend our partnership for a fifth season.”
The recently wrapped fourth season of Nashville delivered more than 8 million viewers across all platforms including DVR for ABC.