“Nashville” doesn’t just have a new network. When the drama made the move to CMT, it also picked up two new showrunners. Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, who have worked on “My So-Called Life” and “Thirtysomething,” will take over for Dee Johnson. They’ll be making some big changes to the show as well.
There will be a renewed focus on the music in Season 5, Entertainment Weekly reports. The newest character, Clay, has a casting description that emphasizes his musical style: “He is a creative, self-aware, highly motivated young man who suffers intense mood swings, but is nonetheless charming and outgoing. His musical style is eclectic, with modern elements but also nods to roots black music, bluegrass, and even classic country.”
The veteran characters will also be concentrating on their music. In fact, Rayna (Connie Britton) will even revisit a song she performed in the pilot, “Already Gone.” Britton revealed on Instagram that she re-recorded the song.
“Nashville” creator Callie Khouri will likely be happy that the show is returning to its musical roots. She previously told CMT that she wanted Season 5 to deal with the industry more. “One thing I would like to deal with is the collapse of the music business and just how hard it is,” she said in June. “This stuff is really hard. You can’t just put out a record and suddenly it’s No. 1 and all of a sudden they’re big stars. That’s not how it happens. So, I think we are going to deal more with the struggle of it.”
It also seems like the new showrunners are making more of an effort to diversify the cast. In addition to casting Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens, who will play a social worker with some serious pipes, Clay is also described as African American. As previously reported, the show will also introduce a transgender character who will play a big role in the aftermath of Juliette’s (Hayden Panettiere) plane crash.
Hopefully, these changes please both fans and those working on the show. Britton is only signed on to star in about half the season, but 22 episodes have been ordered. With any luck, the new direction of the show will make the Rayna actress decide to stick with “Nashville” for all of Season 5.
“Nashville” Season 5 premieres Thursday, Jan. 5, at 9 p.m. EDT on CMT.