After Nashville ended its run on ABC this spring with a major cliffhanger about one of the main characters, the studio behind the show – Lionsgate – made it exceedingly clear that they don’t intend to let the music stop without a fight. Deacon Claybourne would be proud of that tactic, and would probably be first in line to scrap with prospective networks in order to find his show a place on television again. Now, after weeks of suspense and back-room finagling by the studio it looks like there is a chance Nashville will indeed live to sing another day with a potential fifth season coming to CMT.
The country music channel, with shows such as Party Down South, Can You Duet, and Gone Country, is truly the apex of all things bedazzled denim, cooking shows with butter-heavy recipes, and great location shots of rural ranches. So it’s no surprise that if all of the streaming networks passed on picking up the show and it couldn’t find a place alongside other programming geared towards women at Bravo or Lifetime, then CMT is allegedly stepping up to revive things at The Blue Bird Café.
As previously touched upon, the show ended with a crazy cliffhanger when (spoilers!) Juliette Barnes’ plane went missing on a flight home to meet her one true love back in Tennessee. Her better half Avery was ready and waiting at the airport to forgive her her faults and put their lives back together when he found out the news, and then the screen cut to black. Fans didn’t exactly appreciate the show prioritizing the faint possibility of a renewal over the happiness of the audience and the completion of an ongoing romantic story. It will be interesting to see whether the audience forgives the show those trespasses once the strategy pays off with a renewal elsewhere, or if any goodwill went permanently out the window when the decision was made to air the cliffhanger instead of an alternate happy ending that was also filmed.
Putting aside the cliffhanger kerfuffle, the show was already limping to the finish line with iffy ratings and some truly ill-advised plot lines before the cancellation decision was made. Pretty much the entire fourth season’s worth of storylines about Rayna James and her family could have been scrapped and the show would have been better for it. Between the endless circular narrative about Deacon’s alcoholism, a truly random foray into runaway musicians with secret pasts, and Rayna’s daughter deciding to emancipate herself because her mom wouldn’t let her play open mic nights at skeezy dives, nothing the show did in that area paid off or even made sense as a story choice in any way.
There were more problems than those surroundings a few characters out of the larger ensemble, and most fans would agree that certain sections of the soap need to be overhauled completely for it to confidently move forward as an entertaining show. When the best part of your season is a main character tumbling to his death off a rooftop in the most unintentionally hilarious way possible, you might have some serious problems on your hands. Even putting aside the story issues, the behind the scenes changes possibly underway could be even more drastic. Hayden Panettierre has been publicly battling post-partum depression for the past few months, a fight that took her away from filming for a large chunk of the past year. After the cancellation degree came down from on high, Panettiere tweeted that she would be taking some time off to care for herself and her family.
Whether that personal time will be over before filming potentially resumes again or not, there is a good chance that the show will have to write Juliette off completely (thank goodness for that cliffhanger!) to accommodate Hayden’s real life needs. If that happened, it would remove one of the best chess pieces the show had to play with from the board and without Panettiere on board as the soap’s secret weapon everyone would need to work twice as hard to bounce back from a tough year.
Some fans even feel like they’ve been experiencing Stockholm Syndrome with the show as the quality has diminished over time. (Dear Reader, it me.) Would those on the fence stick around without Juliette Barnes, or after a network switch? If CMT does announce the renewal in the next few days – possibly at the CMT Awards this week – it will be interesting to track fan reaction about the decision. Is the show really that missed, or was everyone just hoping they would get to see the outcome if the thirtysomething creators got their hands on a nighttime soap set in the world or country music.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)