Nashville is an American musical drama television series. It was created by Academy Award winner Callie Khouri and produced by R.J. Cutler, Khouri, Dee Johnson, Steve Buchanan, and Connie Britton. The series stars Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, a legendary country music superstar, whose stardom begins fading, and Hayden Panettiere as rising younger star Juliette Barnes. The series premiered on ABC, on October 10, 2012, had more than 8.93 million viewers. The pilot was made available on Hulu, iTunes, and ABC.com before it premiered on television.
The pilot episode received critical acclaim, specifically praising Callie Khouri's writing, casting, and the performances of Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere. At the 70th Golden Globe Awards, Britton was nominated for Best Actress and Panettiere was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, while the series was nominated for Favorite New TV Drama at the 39th People's Choice Awards and Best New Series at the 65th Writers Guild of America Awards; Britton was also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the Primetime Emmy Awards. At the 71st Golden Globe Awards, Panettiere received a second nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Development and filming
The series was created by Callie Khouri, who won Academy Award for Thelma & Louise. Khouri lived in Nashville from 1978 to 1982. In interview for The New York Times she said “This is a place that can be mocked and made fun of, and sometimes it deserves it, like any place. But it also is an incredibly beautiful, cosmopolitan city, and I wanted to show that to the world. I want to represent it in a way that everybody who lives here would find completely realistic.” Nashville was the first television series in Khouri' career, who worked two decades as film writer and director creating strong female characters.
The production began in 2011. On October 2011, ABC bought the original concept from Khouri. Documentary filmmaker R. J. Cutler also joined the project as executive producer alongside Khouri. Nashville produced by Lionsgate Television with ABC Studios. ABC ordered the pilot on January 27, 2012. The pilot episode was filmed in March 2012, and directed by series producer R. J. Cutler. The series was picked up by ABC on May 11, 2012, and premiered on the network on October 10, 2012 as part of its 2012–13 television season. Dee Johnson joined the series as executive producer and showrunner as of fourth episode, replacing Jim Parriott. On November 12, 2012, the series was picked up for a full season run, which was shortened by one episode by the producers (due to production difficulties) rather than the network.
Number of television critics called Nashville as “Dallas in Tennessee.” The original concept was focused on the backdrop of the real country music world. ABC’s promotional campaign for series premiere was primarily focused on the rivalry between a young and ruthless country-pop diva (Panettiere) and a past-her-peak superstar (Britton). Nashville is filmed on location and soundstages in Nashville. The Bluebird Cafe, an important local performance arena, is a frequent setting; the show's art department, headed by production designer Jeff Knipp, precisely replicated its exterior and interior in a Nashville sound stage. After weeks of rumors that production would move elsewhere, it was announced that season two will also be filmed on location in Nashville. Nashville budget hovers in the neighborhood of $4 million per episode in season one.
British actor Sam Palladio was the first regular member to be cast, being announced on February 14, 2012. Australian actress and singer Clare Bowen was the next addition to the pilot, as Scarlett O'Connor, on February 17, 2012. On February 22, General Hospital vet Jonathan Jackson joined the cast in the role of Avery Barkley. On February 23, Emmy Award winner Powers Boothe joined the cast as Lamar Wyatt, father of lead character. On February 29, it was announced that Hayden Panettiere had landed the role of Juliette Barnes, originally planned as primary antagonist of series. On March 1, 2012 Robert Wisdom was cast as Coleman Carlisle, one of the supporting regular characters. On March 5 Eric Close joined the ensemble cast as Teddy Conrad, Rayna’s husband. On March 6, it was announced that Connie Britton would play leading role of Rayna Jaymes, 40-year-old fading country superstar. Britton also serves as as an co-executive producer of the series. On March 13, 2012, Charles Esten joined the cast in the final regular role of Deacon Claybourne, Rayna former lover.
Britton states that her character, Rayna is based on several country singers, including Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, and Bonnie Raitt. Panettiere denies that her character resembles Taylor Swift, and states that Juliette is instead based on herself—a young woman in the entertainment industry—and Carrie Underwood.
Alongside the nine regular cast members during the first season, several actors were cast in recurring roles. Judith Hoag appeared in the series as of pilot to second episode of third season as Tandy Hampton, Rayna's sister. Sylvia Jefferies played the role of Jolene Barnes, Juliette's mother, during first season. On August 29, 2012, it was announced that Kimberly Williams-Paisley joined the cast as Margaret "Peggy" Kenter. J. D. Souther, Rya Kihlstedt, Tilky Montgomery Jones, Wyclef Jean, Susan Misner, and Michiel Huisman also had major recurring roles during the first season.
For second season, Chris Carmack who recurred in six episodes of season one as Will Lexington, the closeted gay, as well as Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella as Rayna's daughters, were promoted to regulars. Aubrey Peeples and Chaley Rose joined the cast in major recurring roles as Layla Grant, a runner-up in a singing competition and a new singer in Nashville who is a new rival for Juliette, and Zoey, Scarlett's childhood best friend who moves to Nashville. Oliver Hudson was cast as Jeff Fordham, the new CEO of Edgehill. Christina Chang also joined the cast as Megan Vannoy, love interest for Deacon, and Will Chase as Luke Wheeler, love interest for Rayna and currently the biggest male country artist. Charlie Bewley also appeared in the multiple episodes arc as Charles Wentworth, a married business man, who had an affair with Juliette.
For third season, Will Chase and Oliver Hudson were promoted to regulars after recurring performances in season two. Tony Award winner Laura Benanti was cast in the recurring role of country star Sadie Stone. Singer Brette Taylor was cast as Pam York, Luke’s new backup singer, and Alexa PenaVega for a multi-episode arc as Kiley, Gunnar’s first love. Dancing with the Stars' Derek Hough also joined the cast for a multi-episode arc as Noah West.
Creative executive producer Callie Khouri's husband T-Bone Burnett was the show's executive music producer and composer for season one. Due to his other projects, he was not able to continue on the series. His assistant and the managing producer Buddy Miller took over for Burnett in season two.
On October 2, 2012, it was announced that Big Machine Records will release all covers and original songs from the series. Some songs are written by John Paul White of The Civil Wars, Hillary Lindsey, and Elvis Costello. On November 13, 2012, Big Machine announced the release of The Music of Nashville: Season 1 Volume 1 Original Soundtrack on December 11, 2012.
The Music of Nashville: Season 1 Volume 2 was released on May 7, 2013. The Music of Nashville, Season 1: The Complete Collection, a four-disc set, was released in the UK on September 23, 2013. This set includes the songs that were digitally released as singles in North America but not in the UK. Despite the title, it omits three of Connie Britton's songs ("Already Gone", "American Beauty", and "Stompin' Grounds") as well as Sam Palladio and David Clayton Rogers' cover of "I'm A Lonesome Fugitive." The Music of Nashville: Season 2, Volume 1 was released by Big Machine on December 10, 2013.
An album of the music performed on the TV special Nashville: On The Record by many of the cast and the songwriters was released to digital download on April 22, the day before the special aired on ABC. The following compilation albums have also been released to download:
- Clare Bowen As Scarlett O'Connor: Season One (April 22; featuring 13 tracks)
- Hayden Panettiere As Juliette Barnes: Season One (April 29; featuring 16 tracks, including two versions each of "Undermine" and "Consider Me")
- Hayden Panettiere As Juliette Barnes: Season Two (May 13; featuring 9 tracks)
- Clare Bowen As Scarlett O'Connor: Season Two (May 13; featuring 9 tracks)
The Music of Nashville: Season 2, Volume 2 was released on May 6, 2014.
In the first episodes the series on rival of Rayna Jaymes and Juliette Barnes. Rayna Jaymesis the established "Queen of Country" music. However, her latest album is not selling well and her tour is playing to half empty venues. Her record label suggests that she open for Juliette Barnes, the young and sexy best selling singer of bubble gum country-pop. However, Juliette, seeing Rayna as privileged, purposefully alienates her. Rayna, who dislikes Juliette's style of music, rejects a joint tour out of hand. The two women come into conflict as each tries to get guitarist Deacon Claybourne, Rayna's bandmate and former lover, to sign on to their tour. Rayna's life is further complicated when her estranged father, millionaire businessman Lamar Wyatt, convinces her husband, Teddy Conrad, to run for Mayor of Nashville.
For later episodes the series follows the lives of country music musicians, headed by three female leads: country superstar Rayna Jaymes, rising problematic star Juliette Barnes, and newcomer singer-songwriter Scarlett O'Connor.
Cast and characters
The show features an ensemble cast. For the first season - nine actors received the star billing: Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, a 40-year-old country music superstar singer whose stardom is beginning to fade; Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes, a bubblegum country pop singer and former teen star sensation who is determined to replace Rayna as the top superstar of country music; Clare Bowen as Scarlett O'Connor, a poet and songwriter, Deacon's niece, and musician partner with Gunnar. Works at the Bluebird Cafe which is where she is first noticed and performs; Eric Close as Theodore 'Teddy' Conrad, Rayna’s husband who, after a business failure, is now living on his wife’s income. He runs for mayor with help from his father-in-law and wins election, later divorcing Rayna; Charles Esten as Deacon Claybourne, songwriter, lead guitar player, Rayna’s former lover and biological father of her oldest child.; Jonathan Jackson as Avery Barkley, an aspiring musician with a bad-boy streak. He and Scarlett are in a relationship when the series begins, but soon separate; Sam Palladio as Gunnar Scott, a kind-hearted aspiring musician who dates Scarlett in season one, and dates Zoey in season two; Robert Wisdom as Coleman Carlisle, a one-time mayoral candidate, and later Deputy Mayor, close friend of Rayna, and serves as Deacon's sobriety sponsor; and Powers Boothe as Lamar Wyatt, Rayna's father and a wealthy, powerful and controlling patriarch and local politician who disapproves of his daughter's career as a country singer.
Powers Boothe and Robert Wisdom were reduced to recurring status, in the second season for creative reasons. After recurring basic in season one, three actors were promoted to the regular cast in the second season: Chris Carmack as Will Lexington, a closeted homosexual, Scarlett and Gunnar's new neighbor, and aspiring country music singer; Lennon Stella as Maddie Conrad, Rayna's elder daughter, legal daughter to Teddy, and biological daughter to Deacon; and Maisy Stella as Daphne Conrad, Rayna, and Teddy's younger daughter. For third season, two actors were upped to regulars: Will Chase as Luke Wheeler, the biggest male country artist and a love interest for Rayna; and Oliver Hudson as Jeff Fordham, the new label record executive who clashes with Rayna and Juliette, and eventually has sex with Juliette, thus making her cheat on Avery.
In addition to main cast, several actors appearing in Nashville in a supporting roles. The most notable are Judith Hoag as Tandy Hampton (seasons 1-3), Rayna's sister, the daughter and protégé of Lamar Wyatt, who plays referee to Rayna and Lamar; Sylvia Jefferies as Jolene Barnes (season 1), Juliette's overprotective & overbearing mother; a drug addict who later commits a murder-suicide; Chaley Rose as Zoey Dalton (season 2-present), Scarlett's childhood best friend who moves to Nashville, and starts dating Gunnar; Aubrey Peeples as Layla Grant (season 2-present), a runner-up in a singing competition and a new singer in Nashville who is a new rival for Juliette. She gets dropped from the label, after her single tanks, though she strikes up a romance with Will, and they eventually get engaged. She is a participant in a reality show featuring her and Will, and their impending nuptials; Laura Benanti as Sadie Stone (season 3-present), a country star who is a friend of Rayna's; Brette Taylor as Pam (season 3-present), as Luke's new backup singer; Derek Hough as Noah West (season 3-present), an actor who lands a role about a famous country singer; Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Margaret "Peggy" Kenter (seasons 1-2), Teddy's former co-worker at the credit union who helped him hide his embezzlement. They begin dating after Teddy and Rayna separate and marry after she lies to Teddy that she is pregnant. She is shot and killed while someone was attempting to kill Teddy; Michiel Huisman as Liam McGuinnis (seasons 1-2), Rayna's new music producer, who also has a brief fling with Rayna and Scarlett; Jay Hernandez as Dante Rivas (season 1), Jolene's sober companion and Juliette's lover, who, after attempting to blackmail Juliette, is killed by Jolene in a murder-suicide; Charlie Bewley as Charles Wentworth (season 2), a married confident business man, who owns many radio stations across the country, and has an affair with Juliette; Alexa PenaVega as Kiley (season 3-present), Gunnar's first love who is now a struggling single mother; Christina Chang as Megan Vannoy (season 2), Deacon's lawyer at the beginning of season two; Deacon and Megan were in a romantic relationship in season two until Deacon found out that she cheated on him with Teddy
Also appearing in many episodes are several background characters, including Ed Amatrudo as Glenn Goodman (season 1-present), Juliette Barnes's protective manager, often tasked with cleaning up the messes that Juliette leaves behind; David Alford as Bucky Dawes (season 1-present), Rayna's long-time seasoned and caring manager; Todd Truley as Marshall Evans (season 1; 11 episodes), former president and CEO of Edgehill Republic Records. In the beginning of season two he gets fired by the board of Edgehill Records and is replaced by Jeff Fordham; Kourtney Hansen as Emily (season 1-present), Juliette's assistant; J. Karen Thomas as Audrey Carlisle (season 1), Coleman's wife; and Derek Krantz as Brent McKinney (season 2), an openly gay marketing and public relations employee who works for Jeff's record company who once dated Will.
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