It has been quite a tumultuous past few months for the cast and crew of ABC’s “Nashville,” the show that was shockingly canceled by its network back in May, only to be picked up by CMT in June. Not everyone is on board for the move, however, as Will Chase, who plays Rayna Jaymes’ love interest Luke Wheeler, and Aubrey Peeples (who plays Layla Grant), were both let go before the show moved to CMT.
Back in May, Lionsgate TV chairman Kevin Beggs spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about how they pushed for the cliffhanger ending of Season 4, saying that the ending that ultimately hit the airwaves was the one they were rooting for in the beginning, despite filming a happier ending. He added that they would not have pushed for such a cliffhanger ending if they had known that there was no chance at all for “Nashville” season 5 to hit the airwaves.
“In our estimation, to go with a quickly assembled too-easy wrap-up is more of a disservice to the fans who have invested four years in this great cast and these great stories. And there’s more stories to tell,” Beggs promised. Whatever stories that may be, it seems that production, which is now headed by new showrunners Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, is keeping tight-lipped about what is to unfold in “Nashville” season 5.
What’s for sure, however, is that CMT has ordered 22 episodes for “Nashville” season 5, which will see the return of series regulars Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Lennon Stella, Maisy Stella, and Chris Carmack.
Meanwhile, the cast of “Nashville” season 5 recently made an appearance in the live-streaming web series, “Skyville Live.” In fact, the cast reminded audiences of the strength of their bond through a glorious performance of The Beatles’ classic, “With a Little Help from My Friends,” a seemingly appropriate song following the tumultuous events of the past months. Head over to Rolling Stone to watch the performance.
“Nashville” season 5 is set to make its debut on CMT this fall.
New Material From Esten and Bowen on the Way
Wednesday’s (July 13) Skyville Live salute to Music City featured dynamic performances by Chris Carmack, Mark Collie, Lennon & Maisy, J.D. Souther and Pam Tillis plus new music announcements from Clare Bowen and Charles Esten.
Backed by an all-star band that included Canadian bluesman Colin Linden, each act onstage entertained with two songs and shared special music memories that will forever tie them to Music City, U.S.A.
Esten and Collie kicked off the night with their duet “Spin the Wheel.” Then Esten delivered the live performance premiere of his new single “Through the Blue,” a song he wrote with Kendell Marvel and Tim James as a reminder that life’s dark times never hang around long. Starting Friday (July 15) with “Through the Blue,” Esten revealed he will release a new single every Friday via iTunes in a new initiative called #EverySingleFriday. The new songs are from a catalog of material he’s written since joining Nashville four seasons ago.
Next, Bowen revealed she’s been splitting time between the road and the studio and has a full length album in the works. Going barefoot and dressed like an angel in a white tea length dress, she performed her love song “I’m Still Here,” which was inspired by her fiancé Brandon Young. Bowen co-wrote the song with John Paul White, who co-wrote one of Nashville’s earlier hits “If I Didn’t Know Better.”
Souther dedicated his portion of the show to Linda Ronstadt with “Faithless Love” and the late Glenn Frey with the Eagles classic “Heartache Tonight.” Ronstadt originally recorded “Faithless Love” for her 1974 album Heart Like a Wheel (Glen Campbell also recorded a version for his 1984 album Letter to Home).
Souther’s story behind writing “Heartache Tonight,” made those watching at home wish they were at the show. At the time Souther and Frey started the classic rock anthem, they were walking around Souther’s pool while on a break from writing another song. Souther had the melody and Frey started clapping. Then Don Henley joined in and then Frey got Bob Seger on the phone to finish the song. And, voilà, a co-write between four rock legends was born.
Looking a little taller and even more beautiful, Lennon & Maisy entertained with a two-song set that included their airy Charli XCX cover, “Boom Clap” and their version of “Lean On” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake featuring MØ.
Then Carmack took the stage with the lead single from his Pieces of You EP, “Being Alone,” and proceeded to blow the roof off the place with a naughty blues number called “Sweet Little Angel.”
Tillis introduced the band and sang a powerful version of “Maybe It Was Memphis.”
Collie rocked the stage with Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and shared details on an upcoming documentary about his time bringing live music to inmates as an essential part of their rehabilitation. Before leaving the stage, Collie shared a powerful message in light of the recent tragedies in Dallas and Orlando, Florida.
“Love your neighbor,” he told the crowd. “Hug your brothers and sisters. And thank a cop for keeping you safe.”
An inspirational performance of “On the Day I Die” closed his portion of the show. Then Souther returned to the stage to sing “I’ll Be Here at Closing Time,” a song he wrote about an attractive waitress with an alluring walk he noticed once while writing music at a restaurant.
The night wrapped with the entire lineup singing the Joe Cocker version of “With a Little Help from My Friends.”
Clare Bowen has had a busy year; she’s just finished a UK tour with some of her Nashville co-stars, she got engaged to musician Brandon Robert Young, she found out the TV show she worked on was cancelled (and then saved!), cut her hair mega short (for a good reason) and she’s experienced heartache in her personal life after her brother was diagnosed with cancer.
We chatted to Clare after her London gig and talked Nashville, songwriting, wedding dresses and her dream country star cameo.
When Nashville was cancelled by ABC, how did you find out?
It was interesting, we were actually in a studio and Brandon [Clare’s fiancé] was putting in a vocal while my phone started blowing up. I just scrolled down to Twitter and that’s how I found out. Then he came out of the studio and was like ‘How you doing baby?’ and I just said ‘the show got cancelled’. We actually found out via social media and that was my birthday so that was pretty funny. Everyone was like ‘oh that’s horrible’ but you can’t take those things personally. I mean ABC gave us four years of a show that, without the Opry we would not be here and It would not be what it was. It’s all completely original music written into storylines and not just spontaneously bursting into song like musical theatre and Glee. It’s all about the music industry and the life that goes on backstage.
Were you happy when the show got picked up by another network?
I had a gut feeling about it… I was like ‘I don’t know how we’re coming back but I know we’re coming back’. The show has such a following that I suspect there will be a Nashville riot.
Do you think all of the cast members will return to the show?
I don’t know, someone put me on the spot the other day and asked if I was coming back and I said ‘well if the integrity of Nashville as a city has been preserved with the upmost care then I’m in’ and thankfully we have people like Steve Buchanan of the Opry and Buddy Miller… We have all these wonderful people who we couldn’t do without. I think everyone will be in with a pleasant surprise. It’ll be a whole new writing team.
What would you like to see happen to your character?
“She’s gone from this little quiet introverted creature – she’s still introverted – she’s learnt to cope better though. There are little 12-year-old girls who run up to me in the mall and say ‘we love Scarlet!’ … she’s the character I’ve played who is the closest to me and I’ve played characters who have killed everyone off… but we look pretty much the same. One of her growing points is that she doesn’t let men treat her as doormat anymore. It’s nice to be able to look those little 12-year-old girls in the eye and say, ‘don’t settle for less’.
When you’re on stage, are you Scarlet or Clare?
When I walk on stage I’m always Clare. I was lucky enough to get to write Scarlet’s back story in the beginning. For the tour I got to collaborate with a Nashville based bridal designer called Olia Zavozina. She and I together designed my entire line. I used to work in the wedding industry, I designed dresses for a living… I’ve had every funny job under the sun, from puppeteering to mustering cattle!
So will you design your own wedding dress when you marry Brandon?
“Yes, definitely and Olia will make it with me”
Your little brother, who lives back home in Australia, has been diagnosed with stage four lymphoma, does music help you get through the tough times dealing with that?
I feel like music is really the universal language, even if you don’t understand the words to something there are melodies that make you feel a certain way. I have always been an advocate for kindness…. It’s interesting today with social media, people will say things and there’s no accountability. So it’s nice with music to say something as an actual human being… just being able to be out there and be real with people and tell stories that are real. Probably the most important thing is to be able to make people feel welcome and let them know that they’re not alone.
You made headlines last year when you cut your long hair to show a poorly little girl that she could still be a princess with short hair. Did the public support blow you away?
It was not a decision that I made lightly. It took a year for the network to say yes, because they had to write it in. But the support of my family and Brandon and my team in Nashville who said go ahead and do it was amazing. I’d wanted to do it for a while. The thing that was the inspiration in the end was this video of a little girl who’s Dad called her a princess and she said ‘No Daddy, I’m not a princess, I’m not pretty and I don’t have long hair.’ I thought this kid is like four years old, where the hell did she get this from? How does a four-year-old child decide that she’s not enough. So I thought if any time is good it’s now.
So I had two of my best friends hack it off with a pair of childrens scissors and my friend Luke O’Connor in LA did the rest of the cut for me. It was lovely, I was overwhelmed by the response. But the best part was on social media, for a while I didn’t know what to say… the best thing for me was that they were directing love and gratitude… sharing photos of their own struggles. Then the kindness of the fans who had also been through this kind of stuff. All these people bonded together and showed compassion to each other. That was the best part for me.
Lastly, is there anyone you would love to perform with on Nashville?
Dolly Parton! She’s so lovely, I met her recently and I was just really inspired by the way she treats people. When she does her meet and greets she makes you feel like you are the only person that she wants to be talking to in the whole world. She’s just so full of love. You can’t really pick on Dolly!
The Nashville Is Back Auction will feature screen used prop and wardrobe items from the series.
“Nashville” stars Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes, Clare Bowen as Scarlett O’Connor, Chris Carmack as Will Lexington, Will Chase as Luke Wheeler, Charles Esten as Deacon Claybourne, Jonathan Jackson as Avery Barkley, Sam Palladio as Gunnar Scott, Maisy Stella as Daphne Conrad, Lennon Stella as Maddie Conrad and Aubrey Peeples as Layla Grant. Dee Johnson (“Boss,” “The Good Wife”), “The War Room,” “A Perfect Candidate”), Callie Khouri (“Thelma & Louise”) and Steve Buchanan are executive producers of “”Nashville”.” The series is produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment.
Thanks to Nashville fans who started a #BringBackNashville campaign after ABC canceled the show, CMT stepped in to save the beloved country music series and give fans a fifth season. Now, the show is saying thank you by auctioning off memorabilia from the first four seasons.
The “moving sale” begins on June 21 and will feature 270 items from the show. The weekly auctions will take place on nashvilletvauctions.com, where each item will be offered for seven days through July 26. The items will vary from props to costumes, including one of Rayna’s rejected wedding dress options.
It is odd, but not so surprising these days, that Australian actor Clare Bowen convincingly plays, in the TV series Nashville, a one-time-waif from Natchez, Mississippi, who becomes a highly successful country singer and songwriter. Hell, if you don’t find an Australian convincingly playing a regional American character on a modern TV show – hello Ryan Kwanten in True Blood – you start to question their casting choices.
It’s odder, if you grew up with shows and movies full of miming “musicians”, that when playing Natchez girl Scarlett O’Connor, Bowen, like the rest of the cast, is actually singing and playing the songs. Though as Bowen says, “I don’t know any different. I came from classical and musical theatre and if you can’t sing, you don’t get the job.”
It may be more mind-turning for some traditionalists that having been an actor who sings (having trained in opera initially then later film and TV), Bowen, who turns 32 this month, is now touring and playing the songs her character sings – usually with her on-screen musician boyfriend – along with a few more originals co-written with her real-life musician boyfriend, Brandon Young.
But what must really be weird if you think it all fantasy, is how much the Natchez girl has in common with the actor who is often referred to as coming from Wollongong but really grew up all over the place, and in no place.
Let’s start with what Bowen calls Scarlett’s “self-esteem issues and being frightened of people”. This was someone who – “from the backwoods of Mississippi, content to be a housewife” – had no belief in her abilities. Across the Pacific, Bowen remembers that she “got told for a long time that I couldn’t sing anyway. So when I got this job it was even more of a surprise”.
Was she told when she was training in opera that she may not have a long-term future with her voice?
“No, it wasn’t as constructive as that,” she laughs. “I think being young and being in a big group of people who were all really … [she pauses] … people get told that if you destroy your opponent then you’ll be just fine and it’s completely wrong.
“So being picked up for a show like this was like an awakening. I had been conditioned so much to think that I wasn’t very good that it was still a shock, even after playing Wendla [in the original Australian production of the musical Spring Awakening for the Sydney Theatre Company].”
Then there’s the way cancer stalks her character: not directly as it did Bowen when she was four years old and diagnosed with end-stage nephroblastoma affecting her kidneys, but via Scarlett’s uncle and tangentially her mother, while she dates an oncologist.
As well as her own long and tough treatment and recovery before she’d even turned 8, Bowen’s younger brother Timothy, a promising singer and songwriter whose girlfriend is studying medicine, is also in remission from a more recent cancer.
“I don’t know why this is happening to my family twice but I do know that he will come out of it on the other side the person that he is meant to be. Because that’s what it did to me,” says Bowen, who adds that Chip Esten, who plays Scarlett’s uncle, is recording one of Timothy’s co-written songs, From Here On Out, which appears in a pivotal moment of the fourth season.
Art imitates life imitates art imitates …
“I’ve been into the writers’ room a couple of times, they’ve been really collaborative with me,” says Bowen. “At the beginning I was asked to write a back story, so I did that, and the writers took it, put their own mark on it, but stayed really true to what I had written.”
A lot of it was Bowen discovering herself inadvertently.
“Scarlett was this very introverted person [and] I didn’t know I was one when I came to Nashville. People thought I was a bit strange because I was quiet: I felt good on stage and I felt good around animals but around people I always feel a little bit awkward.
“So without knowing, I was writing this character who was very much related to myself, except her struggle came from a really rough childhood with a mother who didn’t know how to treat her with love; mine was that I wasn’t raised around too many people my own age [because of the hospitalisations and recovery]. There were parts that were really scary and sad but it made me who I am.” – Source
“Nashville” will return for a fifth season that will be broadcast on CMT and streamed on Hulu thanks to a unique deal that was reached on Thursday after weeks of negotiations, according to sources familiar with the talks.
The show was canceled by ABC after a four-season run, but fans of the show banded together and launched a social media campaign to save the country music-focused drama. Lionsgate began pitching the show to other networks and ultimately found a home on the Nashville-based CMT.
Crucial to the deal is the incentive package that will see the state, Metro, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. and Ryman Hospitality chip in funds to offset the cost of the show’s production. The state put $8 million in its budget and Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has proposed a $1.375 million fund for film incentives, though the final amount for “Nashville” has not been announced.
The state and Metro have justified incentives for “Nashville” by arguing the show brings tourists to the city and pumps millions of dollars into the local economy, in addition to bringing production jobs.
The entire cast is expected to return for the show, which will be under the direction of a new creative team.
“Nashville” was conceived by Ryman Hospitality and developed by Lionsgate. The show’s ratings were inconsistent in its fourth season, but a loyal fan base has remained. And “Nashville” has additional revenue streams than the typical television show because of its music licensing component.
In fact the show’s stars have been on a tour in recent weeks. Some observers have said that no scripted show has licensed more original music than “Nashville.”
The show has also taken local film production to another level, providing steady employment for hundreds of workers behind the scenes. The local payroll was in the neighborhood of $21.2 million for season two, according to the most recent numbers released by the show’s representatives.
Season 1: $14.4 million
Season 2: $13.25 million
Season 3: $8 million
Season 4: $10 million
New hope for Nashville.
Cable network CMT is near a deal with the former ABC drama’s producers — Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment have — to continue to series into a fifth season. There is also a Hulu component to the deal as well, we’re told.
The move means that fans who agonized over last week’s unexpected season 4 cliffhanger would get some resolution. In the finale, Juliette Barnes’ (Hayden Panettiere) plane went missing while her child’s father (Jonathan Jackson) waited for her return.
Though it’s not uncommon for canceled broadcast shows to hunt for another buyer, it’s actually pretty rare that one actually pulls off switch — especially among dramas. In recent years, comedies like Fox’s The Mindy Project (Hulu) and NBC’s Community (Yahoo) have managed to find post-broadcast homes among streaming companies. Going from a major to basic cable is trickier as budgets for cable networks tend to be rather lower than broadcast and it can be difficult to make the math work for all parties involved.
Fans have beat the drum for the show’s survival, organizing a virtual viewing party of the Nashville pilot last week under the hashtag #NashRewind. Star Charles “Chip”
With the potential pickup, all bubble shows from last season would either been axed or saved — with CBS’ fellow limbo drama Limitless having run out of options last week.
Clare did the press circuit last week in Australia while promoting her tour and videos have been scattered and surfacing. A lot are difficult to watch because they are region based meaning unless you live in that country you are unable to see them. I posted one video like this last week and have come across another and thought I would share! Check out new Australian interviews of our favorite Pixie!
• 2016: 05/27 Ten Eye Witness News Interview – Sydney, Australia | Watch Video (same as above)
• 2016: 05/27 Breakfast Show Interview – Sydney, Australia | Watch Video
• 2016: 05/27 Mamma Mia Podcast Interview – Sydney, Australia | Watch Video | Listen to Podcast
Country music drama Nashville tonight wrapped its four-season run on ABC with a finale that ended with a cliffhanger. It was an intentional move by the show’s creator Callie Khouri and lead studio Lionsgate TV as I hear that an alternative, series finale ending, also had been filmed. That is because the studio is optimistic that it would find another home for the show.
Neither Oscar winner Khouri not Lionsgate are ready to close the book on Nashville, they told Deadline exclusively.
“Nashville fans are the absolute best, and support for the #BringBackNashville campaign has been amazing,” Khouri said. “We are so grateful for our extremely loyal following. We have stories left to tell and songs left to sing.”
The #BringBackNashville social media campaign has been growing, with a change.org petition garnering more than 100,000 signatures to date. In a tweet at the conclusion of tonight’s finale, Lionsgate TV assured fans that there will be more Nashville.
The studio already has Season 5 mapped out, as it had funded a writers room led by new showrunners Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, who were to succeed departing original showrunner Dee Johnson.
“Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment couldn’t have asked for better partners on Nashville than ABC, as together we created a drama that has captivated viewers worldwide and turned #Nashies into a potent group of superfans,” Lionsgate Television Chairman Kevin Beggs told Deadline. “We want to thank creator Callie Khouri and showrunner Dee Johnson for their inspiration and guidance through tonight’s exciting season finale, and know that more of the Nashville story is waiting to be told.”
Clare was on a morning show in Sydney Australia today called The Morning Show. I’ve added a video and screencaps from her interview and live performance. Enjoy!
• 2016: 05/27 The Morning Show Interview – Sydney, Australia