“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