“Nashville” is going to look different next year, and it’s not just because the show is moving to CMT. The drama will lose some cast members. Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples will not return for Season 5.
TVLine reports that the two will not follow the show from ABC to CMT, but didn’t give a reason why. It’s unclear if the actors decided not to sign on or if it was a budgetary decision. “Nashville” Season 5 will be led by new showrunners Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, so there is also the possibility that this was a creative decision.
Peeples has played Layla since Season 2, but many fans won’t be upset that the troublemaker is gone. Avery (Jonathan Jackson) realized her manipulative ways in the Season 4 finale and broke up with her. Her manager, Glenn (Ed Amatrudo), did the same, so there aren’t really many storylines that she is integral to at this point.
Chase has played Luke since Season 2 as well, and his disappearance might be a little harder to explain. Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) and Will (Chris Carmack) are signed to his record label. They’ll likely have to make excuses for his absence, unless the artists switch labels.
“Nashville” certainly won’t be lacking characters. The majority of the cast is close to signing on for Season 5, according to the Hollywood Reporter. That includes Panettiere and Connie Britton. CMT programming chief Jayson Dinsmore made it clear in an interview with Deadline that the cable network wasn’t looking to make massive cuts to the large cast. “Our expectation and our hope is that everyone will participate in this next cycle,” he said.
Fans want all of their favorite characters to return, but Panettiere is one of the most important. Her character’s private plane went missing in the Season 4 finale cliffhanger. Juliette’s future will likely be determined by Panettiere’s decision to return to the show.
“Nashville” Season 5 does not have a premiere date yet.