nashville will gay "Nashville" Season 3 will introduce a new gay character. Could he help Will (Chris Carmack) come out? Photo: ABC/Mark Levine

“Nashville” Season 3 has been pretty good for Will Lexington (Chris Carmack). His album sold well, his reality-TV show is a hit, and he is becoming a sex symbol for girls everywhere. However, the midseason finale showed that Will can’t stay on top of the world forever. He has been hiding his sexuality, and the Internet has started to speculate that he is gay. Will he find the courage to publicly come out soon? If a new character influences him, he just might.

Kevin Shay is a new character that is currently being cast. He is “an openly gay singer-songwriter who is one of the most successful in all of Nashville. Kevin is described as handsome, tough — a ‘man’s man,’” TV Line reports.

One of Will’s concerns — and the only concern for record label executive Jeff (Oliver Hudson) — is that the public would shun him if he came out. The country music audience is portrayed as rather conservative on the ABC drama, so his fears aren’t unwarranted. After an edited video of Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) saying “there is no God” hit the Internet, people started burning her albums.

However, it seems that country music fans have already welcomed Kevin with open arms. Viewers saw Will watch a gay bartender very closely when he attended a music festival earlier this year. He watched the bartender with his boyfriend and asked if anyone ever gave him any trouble. Life didn’t seem too bad for him, and it seemed like Will may have started to realize in that moment that he too, could be honest about his sexuality. This new musician could end up helping Will step out of the closet.

“Nashville” might pull inspiration from real life. The storyline would very much mirror country musicians Billy Gilman and Ty Herndon’s coming out stories from November. Herndon, 52, came out after being in the public eye for nearly 20 years and being the subject of gay rumors. That same day, Gilman, 26, stated that Herndon inspired him to announce that he is gay as well, ABC News reports. On “Nashville” Season 3, Kevin might be the Herndon to Will’s Gilman.

Even if the new "Nashville" character doesn’t help Will come out, Kevin may at least be Will’s love interest. After all, Will won’t have to worry about Layla (Aubrey Peeples) anymore. As previously reported, the two will be getting a divorce when the show returns in 2015.

“Nashville” Season 3 returns to ABC on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 10 p.m. EST on ABC. Do you think Will is ever going to have the courage to come out as gay? Sound off in the comments section below!