'Nashville' Inks Deal With CMT

Musical drama in danger of ending is picked up, but will its two leading ladies return?

Charles Esten and Connie Britton play married singers Deacon and Rayna on 'Nashville.' Credit: Mark Levine/ABC via Getty Images

In the wake of Nashville's cancellation after four seasons on ABC, the musical drama will indeed return for a fifth. CMT (Country Music Television) is the show's new home.

"CMT heard the fans. The wave of love and appreciation they have unleashed for Nashville has been overwhelming," says Brian Philips, President of CMT. "We see our fans and ourselves in this show and we will treasure it like no other network. Nashville belongs on CMT.”

The news for fans may not be all good, however. Sources close to the show tell Rolling Stone Country that Connie Britton (Rayna Jaymes) and Hayden Panettiere (Juliette Barnes) may not join their castmates in the move to CMT. Juliette's fate was alluded to at the end of the cliffhanger ABC finale, when her private plane was reported missing. The dramatic scenario was a poetic nod to real-life country icon Patsy Cline, who died in a 1963 plane crash near Camden, Tennessee, some 90 miles west of Nashville. In the show, Juliette had been nominated for an Oscar for her big-screen portrayal of Cline.

Still, a faint glimmer of hope remains that one or both actresses will remain with the series. According to industry website Deadline, the cast members are under contract to the show for a couple of additional seasons. Kevin Biggs, chairman of Lionsgate TV and one of the show's producers, is quoted as saying the actors are "essential" to the show's continuation. That same sentiment is no doubt shared by fans of the show, as a Change.org petition in the wake of the ABC cancellation has to date garnered more than 173,000 signatures.

In addition to airing on CMT, the show's upcoming season will be available on Hulu, where episodes from previous seasons of the Music City-centric series are currently available for streaming. The new season, which will presumably premiere this fall, will also be under the direction of new showrunners. TV veterans Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, best known as the creators of the iconic series thirtysomething and My So Called Life, were signed on before season four ended, and had reportedly begun mapping out storylines for season five. While ratings during the final season at ABC had slipped, the show continues to be popular thanks to the original music in each episode and the three concert tours featuring cast members.

On June 13th, Charles Esten (Deacon), Clare Bowen (Scarlett), Sam Palladio (Gunnar) and Chris Carmack (Will) are set to launch the show's first international concert tour with five dates in the United Kingdom. The stars will visit Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and London, England and also have a show scheduled in Glasgow, Scotland.

After four seasons, ABC canceled 'Nashville.' It's now been picked up by CMT. Watch here.