Fall TV Preview

Nashville Books Laura Benanti for Season 3 — Will She Clash With Rayna?

Tony Award winner Laura Benanti is lending her pipes to ABC’s Nashville for its upcoming third season, but can the country music capital of the world handle another diva duel?

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The former Go On star will recur for several episodes as Sadie Stone, an up-and-coming artist in the country music biz, our sister site Deadline reports. Though Sadie supposedly “befriends” Rayna in Season 3, we all know what that really means: brace for conflict!

To be fair, it’s entirely possible that Rayna and Sadie will hit it off swimmingly without a hint of ill will between them; it’s just much more likely that Rayna will choose Luke over Deacon, then get second thoughts when Deacon starts cozying up to Sadie. (Come on, it’s the Nashville way!)

RELATED Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Nashville, Scandal, S.H.I.E.L.D. and More!

Regardless of how the actresses’ on-screen relationship turns out, Connie Britton is clearly thrilled to have Benanti on board:


In addition to Go On, Benanti’s TV credits include roles on Nurse JackieLaw & Order: SVU and Royal Pains.

The third season of Nashville premieres Wednesday, Sept. 24, on ABC.

Nashville fans, how do you think Sadie will factor into Rayna’s world? Drop a comment with your Season 3 theories below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Claire says:

    If Rayna chooses Luke I’m out.

    • Andy Swift says:

      I feel like she kind of HAS to choose Luke, right? Why else would he stick around as a series regular? He’s not a bad choice on paper.

      • Claire says:

        He’s a bad choice on screen. I’d be ok with her being single but even as someone who enjoyed Will Chase on SMASH, I cringe at every scene they share on screen. His character is terribly one-dimensional and boring on top. They have zero chemistry and also makes Rayna’s character appear very contradictional and unlikable. Also – if they ever want to get Rayna back together with Deacon, they can’t possibly make her choose Luke after that finale. Every aspect why people love Rayna and Deacon will be wiped away and I don’t think that’s something you can fix later. Just two cents…

      • You said it Andy… paper. That’s they’re chemistry…. boring, flat. No spark. They could have plenty of storylines with Rayna and Deacon (who are both messed up in their own special way) attempting to build a solid relationship.

        At least it wouldn’t put me to sleep.

      • JeniLee says:

        I feel like she will choose Luke….the wedding will be schedueld for winter sweeps and she will leave him last minute for Deacon

    • LesleyL says:

      Yep me too! They are running out of reasons to keep them apart. I don’t believe the fans will hang around for another season of will they won’t they and devastating Deacon. Season 2 sorely lacked #Deyna scenes. So if she chooses Luke I’m out too.

      • Moment says:

        After Season 3 the series will have 65 episodes. Lionsgate are keen supporters of this series and the studio putting the most money in, it doesn’t matter much if the ratings drop a little, It’s a certainty that Lionsgate will do what it takes to get the show to syndication.

        Lionsgate were also the studio that demanded 22 episodes for Season 3. Basically it will get a Season 4.

  2. C says:

    Team Ausiello, any way you can find out if Derek Krantz/Brent is coming back this season?

  3. ktbanks says:

    SO. MUCH. YES.

  4. Shira says:

    I love Laura!!! She’s also a big Nashville fan already and now that Tandy is leavin Rayna needs a good friend!!! TVline, last season you also said Oliver Hudson (aka Jeff Fordham) will be Rayna’s love interst so forgive me if I don’t your theory right away :)

  5. Benanti will TKO Connie in the singing department. Amazing voice.

  6. Ray says:

    Now this is some good casting news, but they made a big misstep with the character! I think having Benati play Rayna’s long time rival and country music arch nemesis would have been a better choice. Perhaps she was reigning queen for the decades when Rayna’s career died down somewhat during the upbringing of her girls?

  7. Jill says:

    I love the idea of Laura Benanti on Nashville. She and Connie together will be great. I don’t see her as a love interest for Deacon though. If there’s going to be conflict I see her more as cheating with Luke showing Rayna what a ridiculously large mistake she made, but by then it will be too late because the writers will have ruined the Deacon/Rayna relationship forever by having her choosing Luke after he put his heart on the line for her in the finale.

  8. Megan says:

    This is just a guess. I think she will choose Luke in the beginning, but then he will get jealous deacon for some reason. That may lead to Luke cheating with the new character.

  9. CJ says:

    I adore Laura Benanti. This sounds like fantastic casting and I’m looking forward to more Nashville drama!

  10. DLR says:

    Surprised there was no mention her Sound of Music credit. She’s got pipes!

  11. Kelsey says:

    This show doesn’t need another character–series regular or recurring. There are way too many characters as it is. Last season some of the series regulars got less airtime than some of the recurring. Time for Nashville to cut the fat and concentrate on the main 6 characters of the show.

    • Ray says:

      Speaking of trimming the fat, Luke Wheeler should be the first to go.

    • Deborah says:

      Totally agree. There is no need for this new character at all. Apparently the show didn’t get the memo last year from the critics & fans when everyone said enough with all the useless recurring characters because now they adding yet another one. It seems this show wants to get canceled with their lame decisions.

  12. Juju says:

    Laura Benanti is BRILLIANT. With her on Nashville, I will be perfectly fine if Deacon and Rayna are a no-go and Deacon finds himself hanging with Sadie.

  13. louise says:

    yay!!!!!! so excited, Benanti’s been fangirling over this show on twitter forever, so glad her wish to be on the show finally came true. Cannot wait to watch

  14. sarah j says:

    I am a fan of Will Chase, however I want Rayna with Deacon and not Luke. Will Chase being promoted to series regular does not bode well for a Deacon and Rayna.
    I think that Rayna choosing Luke and then having Sadie cozy up to Deacon will change her mind about he choice.

  15. tahonia says:

    I hope it won’t be a battle of dueling divas, been there, done that for 2 seasons. they need to come up with some new problem, same thing with Rayna getting jealous of Deacon being involved with someone else……

  16. Sue says:

    I read a lot of comments about Luke and Rayna and Deacon. I realize that for the show to be powerful that Deacon and Rayna can’t be together “together”. But, let us have a little taste of it now and then. As for the poor Chemistry between Rayna and Luke, take the cowboy hat off…..he isn’t that good. In real life, the best looking and best singers don’t wear hats, except for George Strait and Alan Jackson, and that’s a whole “nother” story!

    • Jill says:

      I don’t see why they couldn’t have them together. Will they/won’t they gets super boring after a while, and I’m already there with that for this couple. They both have a lot of issues, have them deal with them as a couple. There are shows with married couples in them like Parenthood that are still interesting.

  17. C.D. says:

    Rayna needs a friend on the show and I hope that is what Benanti’s character is there for.
    As for the Luke/Rayna thing, I never liked it. I may be reading more into the character but I don’t trust him.

  18. Toni says:


  19. Berri Burroughs says:

    Fireworks🎇 As an extra, I’m looking forward to seeing her on the set. I think she will set her sites on Deacon & then stand back & watch Rayna deal with that!

  20. Sara says:

    Does anyone know why Judith Hoag is leaving? I was hoping they’d make something more out of her character!

  21. Irene ChH says:

    I would like that, though I am keen on the Rayna and Deacon relationship over R&L.

  22. Anandasky says:

    I love that Laura Benanti is joining the show. She has an amazing singing voice and great range – drama to comedy – yeah! Watch her performance on 2013 Tony’s and in Eli Stone :)

  23. Tahaweh Minwah says:

    Please let Rayna go with Deacon. I too find Luke so boring and he so jealous of Deacon. But I would also love for Scarlett and Gunner really get together and Rayna sign them as a couple
    They are magic when they write and sing together.

  24. Lenore says:

    Oh, please please do not choose Luke, Rayna. I betcha Luke will go after this new country singer, and hopefully that will enable Rayna to think twice before deciding that Luke is the one for her. She has to choose Deacon. He is Maddie’s father and loves Daphne and Rayna, so what is the problem. Luke reminds me of a run around. But I could be wrong. I think he is good on the show, but I so not trust him completely yet. Maybe I never will, but I do trust Deacon as he is clean now, hopefully stays clean too, and they have more in common.

  25. Virginia Curtis says:

    No matter how she gets there, Rayna belongs with Deacon!

  26. Kay says:

    Love love Luke !!!! Much better artist, singer, everything than Deacon.

  27. Marrie says:

    I would so love Rayna to choose Deacon as they both have so much history. With so much truth being told who else can they trust? I don’t trust luke, mainly because of his loyalty to his record label. Hahaha Love the note!

  28. Lethea Burton says:

    Are they going to kill off Deacon this season? I hope not. I think if you drop the character it will leave a huge hole.