CMT's 'Nashville' Sets Date for Mid-Season Premiere

A sixth season of the musical drama has been also announced for 2018

Charles Esten announces the return date of the fifth season 'Nashville' via Facebook Live.

The Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated musical drama series Nashville is set to return to CMT for its sixth season, with 16 episodes set to air early in 2018. The second half of the show's current season will get underway Thursday, June 1st, premiering at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and coming just days before the network's annual CMT Music Awards.

Nashville star Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne) announced the renewal and midseason premiere date in a Facebook Live video (watch above) and CMT has also released a video previewing the second half of the season, with executive producer and show runner Marshall Herskovitz explaining, "What we're promising, really, is this continuing process of deepening the relationships of these characters and following through of them trying to figure out who they are in their lives, trying to make their way and getting into the real conflicts that happen." Watch the preview below.

Picking up 10 weeks after events in the midseason finale, those conflicts, based on footage in the video, include Deacon's struggle with balancing single-parenthood with running the Highway 65 label, Maddie and Clay's contentious run-in with a police officer, Juliette's drive to return to the performing stage after the plane crash and the still-uncertain future Scarlett faces as she continues to wonder whether it's Gunnar or Damien who's the father of her baby-to-be.

"There is most definitely life after Rayna," says Herkovitz of Connie Britton's character, whose death was a shock for viewers and unquestionably changes the series' focus. "And yet, we never forget her. She's sort of a presence in each of the episodes because that's what happens in life."

New cast members being introduced in the second half of season five include Rachel Bilson (The OC, Hart of Dixie) and Kaitlin Doubleday (Empire). Actor Jeff Nordling (Big Little Lies, Desperate Housewives) joins as recurring character Brad Maitland, described as "an extremely successful, charming, egotistical, narcissistic owner of the most successful record label in Nashville."

Since moving from ABC to CMT, Nashville has become the highest-rated, most-watched show in CMT history, with 2.1 million weekly viewers. The network is expected to announce its full slate of 2017-2018 programming in the coming weeks.