Nashville returns to TV screens for its fifth season this fall, with series’ leads Connie Britton (Rayna Jaymes) and Hayden Panettiere (Juliette Barnes) among the cast members making the move to CMT. But according to TVLine, two actors not returning as series regulars when the show resumes are Will Chase (Luke Wheeler) and Aubrey Peeples (Layla Grant). It’s currently unknown whether either of them will make special appearances in any of the upcoming episodes.
The May 25th finale, which aired on ABC shortly after the network cancelled the series, saw the plane carrying Juliette lose radio contact. An alternate ending was reportedly shot which depicted Juliette alive and reunited with estranged husband Avery (Jonathan Jackson) at the airport. That footage was ultimately replaced with what amounted to a more substantial cliffhanger, due most likely to ongoing negotiations with Panettiere and other cast members.
Jackson will be among those returning, along with Charles Esten (Deacon), Sam Palladio (Gunnar), Clare Bowen (Scarlett), Lennon Stella (Maddie), Maisy Stella (Daphne) and Chris Carmack (Will Lexington).
The country-music drama received a 22-episode order from CMT and will be overseen by new showrunners Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (thirtysomething). No word yet on a airdate for the Season Five debut. CMT has respectfully declined to comment on this story.