Nashville Season 5

Nashville Exec Downplays 'Short-Term Pain' of Cliffhanger, Insists Alt Ending Would've Been 'Disservice to Fans'

The decision to send Nashville out on a cliffhanger was a creative one as much as it was a business one, per The Powers That Be.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate TV chairman Kevin Beggs said, “The ending we ran was the ending always envisioned for this season,” adding, “To go with a 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 [are] more stories to tell.”

In the cancelled series’ ABC swan song on May 25, the fate of Hayden Panettiere’s Juliette was left very much up in the air as the plane that was carrying the starlet lost radio contact. As TVLine reported, an alternate ending showing Juliette alive, well and being reunited with estranged hubby Avery (Jonathan Jackson) at the airport was shot but ultimately discarded.

The ambiguous ending was intended to buoy Lionsgate’s efforts to find Nashville a new home, but viewers were not pleased. “We love Nashville, but leaving Julliette missing at the end of the final episode sucked,” sighed TVLine reader Carol. Fellow fan Marla, meanwhile, said the finale “was very good but it would have been great without the cliffhanger! I would have loved to see Juliette and Avery get their happy ending!”

According to Beggs, the studio is currently engaged in “serious conversations with multiple buyers about continuing the show on another platform… We wouldn’t take such a strong position to advocate for [the cliffhanger ending] if we didn’t feel good about our chances moving forward.”

For his part, Nashville leading man Charles Esten is bullish about the show’s Season 5 prospects, telling TVLine that the addition of new showrunners Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (My So-Called Life, thirtysomething) leaves the series “pregnant with possibilities,” adding, “There’s magic all over this thing.”

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71 Comments
  1. I didn’t really mind the cliffhanger at all. I would expect Juliette to survive anyway if they find a new home for the show. I’m glad though, that all the other characters got their happy endings, esp. Will. His relationship with Kevin was a great storyline from the beginning. I didn’t really like the way the relationship ended, but I can forgive the writers now since they are back together. And Kyle Dean Massey! So much talent in one person, it is almost unfair ;)

    I really hope there will be more of Nashville. Although some of the storylines were way to soapy, I loved the music and also the talented cast, Nashville on the record.

    Its a huge part due to the show that Nashville is now on my list of cities to visit, whenever I return to the US. #BringBackNashville

    • Nick K. says:

      Juliette and Avery were my favorite and I’m a little upset, but the HIMYM ending still gives me perspective on other endings! I can’t imagine one worse than that, even a cliffhanger! I want to eventually see that alternate ending!

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  2. Bryan says:

    I just hope that they really find a new home for Nashville. I am okay with the cliffhanger ending for now if it means the show would get another home but I am cautiously hopeful. A lot of these talks always break down at the end so… just find a new home and we’ll be okay.

  3. Boiler says:

    I liked the finale. This show has generated more talk after its cancellation than any I can remember. Perhaps ABC may think they messed up? Nah I doubt it. Thanks to Lionsgate for trying to keep the show going!

  4. jermyroberts says:

    I mean I feel like it’s more of a disservice to not give the couple closure LOL cuz they don’t know if it will find a new home

    • Nick K. says:

      I agree! There was still storyline for them since they were a little estranged and they can always bring in new characters and talent!

  5. Amber says:

    Both Hayden and Connie are talking about the end of the show in a way that would suggest they’re done. If one or both of these ladies left, it wouldn’t be “Nashville”.

    Just admit you took a gamble and lost. Apologize to the fans. And release that alternate scene somehow.

    • Boiler says:

      At least with Hayden I would disagree. As much as I like her the show should be able to survive if she is gone. The head of Lionsgate did say it was important to have them both back so they must want to come back with the push by Lionsgate to have it picked up

      • nathybozo says:

        I don’t think the show can survive without Hayden… Look at the MESS that we had this season in episodes without her in it! Also, as much as I love Connie, do we really need to see Rayna and Deacon fight all season then kiss and make up blah blah blah again? I don’t think so. Juliette is ESSENTIAL to make this show interesting and if Hayden isn’t signing up for a potential season 5, they can just release the alternative finale on YouTube and be done with it.

        • Boiler says:

          From what little has come out a season 5 was supposed to be like a new show. So perhaps the fighting wouldn’t be there anymore. If that does not change I would agree with you

        • Christian says:

          Agreed 100%! Idk what that other person is talking about.. Juliette is way more popular than Rayna. Also, these women likely signed a standard 5-7 yr contract before the show began, so if the show is renewed before their options run out, they’re on the hook!

          • They typicaly would waite till their contracts are up then renegotiate a lower rate and shed some cast to keep cost down for the new cable/streaming home of the few shows to change networks all have a cast shuffle of some sort, sometimes they just get old castpart time.

          • Nick K. says:

            I agree! I love Juliette! I hate Rayna and she and Deacon were always poison to each other! It seems to have changed, but who knows! I stopped watching because of Rayna, but I knew what was going on with Juliette.

          • Nick K. says:

            I agree! I hate Rayna with a passion, but I love Juliette!

        • Nick K. says:

          I love Juliette! They can get rid of Rayna! I can’t stand her and I stopped watching because of her and how she and the rest of her family have always treated Teddy! Newsflash…that man is still her daughters’ father…not Deacon! I always thought Deacon and Rayna were all wrong for each other. It seemed like they got better, but that doesn’t
          change how I feel about Rayna! I can excuse her slutty behavior now because she confessed that rape/almost rape situation, but not the rest!

          • Lauren says:

            Teddy deserved to be treated that way, he was a slimeball! From sleeping with deacon’s girlfriend, to abandoning his daughters to hook up with a prostitute to going to jail for a slew of crimes he was never a likeable character. Plus making it hard for deacon to see Maddie & not accepting the fact she wasn’t his daughter! I was glad to see him go!

        • Nick K. says:

          I agree! I love Juliette! I hate Rayna and she and Deacon were always poison to each other! It seems to have changed, but who knows! I stopped watching because of Rayna, but I knew what was going on with Juliette.

      • K.D.S. says:

        The Show would never survive without Hayden. The episodes without her were the worst of the whole series. Rayna is okay, but i wouldn’t really miss her and i think she has the most boring storylines in the show.

        • Nick K. says:

          I HATE Rayna! I stopped watching because of her, but I always kept up with what was going on with Juliette because I love her! I would welcome a “Nashville” without Rayna!

      • Nick K. says:

        I love Juliette! They can get rid of Rayna! I can’t stand her and I stopped watching because of her and how she and the rest of her family have always treated Teddy! Newsflash…that man is still her daughters’ father…not Deacon! I always thought Deacon and Rayna were all wrong for each other. It seemed like they got better, but that doesn’t change how I feel about Rayna! I can excuse her slutty behavior now because she confessed that rape/almost rape situation, but not the rest!

    • The Kaibosh says:

      Apologize for what?

    • annie says:

      All the original cast is under contract so whether they’re “done” or not if the show gets renewed everyone is coming back.

      • johnhelvete says:

        That depends on how long the process takes if the show does get picked up, since the cast options do not last indefinitely. Also it is not out of the question that budget cuts will be necessary for the series to continue, which could mean actors being cut from the cast or actors being asked to take a pay cut. Beegs of Lionsgate has been doing the rounds with the trades selling the most optimistic scenario (everyone back, 22 episodes), that might not be realistic.

        • Andrea says:

          While I agree that there might be pay cuts, neither Hayden nor Connie would be at the top of the cut list. Luke and Layla would likely be among the first “regulars” to go. I’d anticipate that Lionsgate would try and keep Rayna, Juliette, Deacon, Avery, Scarlett, Gunnar, and Will intact. If cutting Will and Layla wasn’t enough, I’d expect the studio to cut characters like Cash, Frankie, and Autumn entirely, and reduce the number of appearances for characters like Maddie, Daphne, Glenn, Bucky, Emily, and Kevin.

    • Nick K. says:

      I’d be okay without Rayna! I hate her and I stopped watching because of her! If they kept the others and brought in new people, I’d be fine, and I’d watch again!

  6. iHeart says:

    ugh the writers and execs don’t know what want, we did not want this

  7. xomylifexo says:

    This frustrates me more than the actual decision to use the cliffhanger. Just admit that you did something not so smart, apologize, released the scene, and move on. At this point chances do not look good for the series landing somewhere else. And it doesn’t really matter how many stories are left to tell in a series if you have no platform on which to tell them.

  8. Kar says:

    This show had promised but was horrible it deserved to be cancelled

  9. Larc says:

    Introducing a major cliffhanger in the final episode of a series in hopes it improves chances another broadcaster will pick it up is the disservice to fans, IMO. What if it doesn’t get picked up, as it likely won’t? The time to start new issues is when a show already has a definite future. Otherwise, bringing everything to a conclusion is a responsibility owed to loyal fans.

  10. I love when fans are mad about something and the show tries to tell us they know what’s best for us and they did it for our own good. What is a disservice to fans is gambling their sense of closure and satisfaction for the off chance you might get picked up by another network. If the show does get picked up, their gamble worked, but if it doesn’t, they screwed the fans.

  11. johnhelvete says:

    I don’t understand why the cliffhanger ending somehow makes the series more valuable to another platform. Either the other channel/network/streaming service wants the show or they don’t. I also don’t understand why the other ending would preclude the series from continuing, unless Beggs and the writers believe the entire series pivots on if Juliette and Avery are together, which I find difficult to believe.

  12. David4 says:

    I think the cliffhanger is silly, but what harm does it do?

    If it helps gets the show another season than awesome, great for the fans.

    If it doesn’t end up getting another season you release the ending where the plane is fine and everyone is happy.

    It’s a win-win.

    • Nick K. says:

      I’d rather have them re-cut it with the other ending for the DVD boxed set and put the ending we got in extras for anyone who liked it.

  13. Ray says:

    This is getting way out of hand. Either Nashville gets a new home and we get more great story telling or we see the happy ending on the DVD boxset. Not a slap either way.

  14. The cliffhanger ending ,especially when a closed,happy ending was filmed ,is disrespectful to the fans.Id personally rather have the closed ,happy ending in case Nashville dosent picked up elsewhere.The writers/Showrunners ended it deliberately on a cliffhanger in hopes of pressuring ABC to renew and that didn’t work,will it really work to get another network/service to pick it up?Lots of cancelled shows are shopped around but don’t get saved.Fans invested four seasons in this and deserved better.At least the other sl were wrapped up.Why would ending on a cliffhanger make another network/service/platform more Intersted in picking it up?

  15. hope it comes back. loved the show tbh

  16. GeoDiva says:

    This just proves that this season’s producrers had no clue what they were doing. Cash and her lame father, The Beverly (naming the bar after the worst person) Avery and Layla‽‽‽ ….. Ugh!

  17. Normandy says:

    That is a very poorly thought out statement by Kevin Beggs. Every major storyline but one gets closure in a season that was pretty underwhelming but you want a cliffhanger in hopes that someone else will pick up the show?

  18. leo21 says:

    Better cliffhanger would have been Juliette come home but make it will they or won’t they get back together and not making Rayna/Deacon seem so solid. The cliffhanger doesn’t sell the show as much as the fact that so many characters had resolutions that enable them to not get picked back up in a revival. Luke and his record label can basically be gone and not miss a beat along with Frankie and his bad seed daughter.

  19. Shirley Pettite says:

    Really working hard on Twitter to #BringBackNashville along with thousands of other #Nashies. The cliffhanger last episode gives us hope for another season on another network

  20. Sandra Edwards says:

    So are you bringing back Nashville or not. And if so when

  21. MaryContrary says:

    I hope Lionsgate comments are more than bravado because if not the ending sucked but more importantly I really want Nashville to come back with the new showrunners. It has so much potential, some of which was wasted when it was on ABC.

    • Larc says:

      I’m afraid Nashville may be beyond saving. The last showrunners ruined it with too many uninteresting negative storylines. New showrunners should be a huge improvement, but I doubt they will get a chance.

  22. Jared says:

    I don’t mind a cliffhanger or an ambiguous finale but isn’t it more of a disservice to fans if a potential renewal doesn’t come through? Lionsgate seems pretty bullish that Nashville will get picked up but by who? AXSTV? I know they had the show in syndication but I can’t see them saving an expensive series like this.

  23. Bring Nashville back. This is wrong my favorite show.

  24. Andrea says:

    My problem with the ending is that is not something that a studio should do from a strong position. That is something a studio should do from a guaranteed position. If Lionsgate is currently doting the i’s and crossing the t’s on a new deal, then sure the cliffhanger makes sense. If the studio was arrogant and miscalculated their position, then what they did was unnecessary and not cool. Nashville is not a show like the Sopranos or LOST. It’s like Dynasty or Dallas, and doesn’t need an ambiguous ending. (Can you imagine Dallas ending for good on the “Who Shot J.R. cliffhanger?). By choosing the ending it did, Lionsgate needs to get a deal done, not simply assure fans that it’s looking for a deal.

  25. TrickyGreyArea says:

    If the show continued somewhere else, would Zwick and Herskovitz still be attached? I guess I figured that was somehow tied to the show being on ABC, but maybe not. I was very optimistic that the show had a future at ABC when the news that they’d be taking over for S5 was announced. The Nashville fans threats of boycotting the network remind me of when I boycotted ABC when they canceled MSCL in the ’90s.

  26. Marie says:

    PLEASE bring Nashville back!! #lovenashville

  27. Lisa Echerd says:

    So giving everyone else a nice happy ending was ok but potentially killing off Juliet is what will sell this series to another network? Not buying it and I don’t think another network will either.

  28. Boiler says:

    I have absolutely no idea if it was the intent but to me it is certainly possible they did this “cliffhangar” as there is not a definite return for Hayden due to her treatment for post partum depression. This show can certainly survive without her IF the tenor of the show changes. There is also much dead weight they could get rid of to save money. This cancellation seemed like a shock as ABC had given them some assurances they would be back. They have kept shows performing worse than Nashville. I hope all the naysayers and negatives go away if this show is picked up. There certainly is a lot going on with true fans of the show and Lionsgate to get it somewhere.

  29. Roxanna says:

    I love Nashville, they are crazy for ending the show. Please someone get them back on air!!!! Best show ever!!!!!Why??!!!!!!! Its always showing on New and Trending on the On Demand channel, so must of been watched a lot to be there!!!!! Freaken ABC, was it because the gay approval of the story that they discriminate and booted them off??? Some shows had to if had less viewers than this one. I question, WHY!

    • Nick K. says:

      It’s been on the chopping block since Season 2. In fact, it seemed doubtful that it would get the 4th season it just had. It didn’t have anything to do with the gay storyline…the show was always an underdog. However, I think we deserved that other ending! The obvious place for it to go is CMT.

  30. i’ve never seen a episode of this but as a tv fan i hurt for y’all reading the recap.
    leaving it on a cliffhanger just hold it over people in negotiations is a big gamble
    1. it might not work & the not picked up
    2. if it does come back the fans mad at the cliffhanger may not & said return may not last long
    also these “serious conversations with multiple buyers about continuing the show on another platform” seem to be taking a long time to get straightened out kinda makes me wonder if there’s as much interest in it as they claim.

  31. Nick K. says:

    Seriously! They filmed Juliette reuniting with Avery and the baby and they just decided not to use it! That was stupid! There is no guarantee that a show will be picked up by another network. I imagine she is okay and does reunite with them, but it’s not the same as seeing it. I hope they use that ending on the DVD set if the show doesn’t get picked up. I’ll admit I stopped watching the show because I hate Rayna. The early sexual abuse might explain away her slutty behavior, but it doesn’t explain why she didn’t cultivate her children’s relationship with their father, Teddy. Aside from that reason why I opted for Chicago PD, I loved Juliette and Avery and I liked to stay current about what was going on with them!

  32. izzie b says:

    #bringbacknashville. And give Rayna some enthusiasm again please!

  33. Sandy Smith says:

    I love the whole show, the characters, the story lines and the singing!!!!!! I really hope the find a way to bring it back!!!! I truly enjoyed and looked forward to every episode 💔😥 especially love Juliette/Avery and Scarlett/Gunnar💕

  34. Sandy Smith says:

    Loved it!!!! Please bring it back!!!! Loved the music, the characters and story lines!!!! LOVE Juilette/Avery and Scarlett/Gunnar💕 Looked forward too and enjoyed every episode!!! SAVE the show Please!!!! 💔