WARNING: NASHVILLE SPOILERS AHEAD!
After all the rumors and speculation, it looks like Connie Britton is leaving Nashville. On last night’s episode, her character Rayna James died after succumbing to serious injuries caused by a car accident. Recently, showrunner Marshall Herskovits spoke with Deadline about Britton’s exit and the future of the CMT series.
The country music drama is currently in its fifth season. The show moved to CMT after ABC cancelled the series last spring. The cast also includes Hayden Panettiere, Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio, Chris Carmack, Jonathan Jackson, Lennon Stella, and Maisy Stella.
Speaking to Deadline, Herskovits explained why they killed off James two episodes before the midseason finale:
My primary objective was to allow the audience time to absorb, respond and work through the shock of her death. It was originally suggested to us that we have Rayna die at the end of Episode 11, right at the end of this miniseason we are doing. I said, “No, that makes no sense, you can’t do that to the audience, ‘Oops, she died, bye, see you in 3 months.’ That would not work.” Once we understood that, we then saw that we really had to work backwards, how much time, how many episodes we need to process what happened. We arrived at the formula that we used — she had the accident in the eight episode, dies in the ninth episode and then we have the tenth and the eleventh to deal with the aftermath. It’s actually worked out very well.”
He later mentioned that there will be new cast members added to the show:
We made casting additions in the fall, and it was always our intention even before we decided that Rayna would die that we would make additions to the cast in the second part of the season, don’t think any of them is related to her death. It was our mandate when we came in this year to make certain changes in the direction of the show and that entailed unfortunately letting some cast members go and bringing some new ones in. We wanted to have more diversity of music, more diversity of people, there have been a lot of factors gone into how we’ve made these adjustments.”
And what about season six? Will that happen?
We always start thinking ahead. We are beginning to formulate plans for sixth year but until we have definite word from CMT, there is limit to what we can do.”
What do you think? Do you watch Nashville? Will you continue to watch the show without Britton?