New Nashville Boss Outlines Season 5 Reboot: Fewer 'Incidents,' Shorter Scripts, Lots More Music

Limber up those toes, because they’ll be doing a lot more tapping when a rebooted Nashville returns in January. 

And that’s not all that will be different when the country-music drama makes its CMT debut, new co-showrunner Marshall Herskovitz says in this exclusive behind-the-scenes video.

“First thing we mandated was shorter scripts, so there’s time for the music to play out,” says Herskovitz, who will co-showrun the former ABC series along with his thirtysomething/My So-Called Life partner Ed Zwick.

Also of interest to Nashville fans: Herskovitz vows the drama will focus on “the depth and the complexity of the relationships instead of just feeling you needed to have incident piling on incident.” (Translation: No more shenanigans like Peggy-and-the-pig’s-blood or Deacon-punching-a-dude-even-though-he-knows-doing-so-will-cost-him-his-kid.)

The featurette gives us a glimpse of some on-set, behind-the-scenes action, featuring cast members Connie Britton, Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio and Lennon and Maisy Stella.

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“Nashville is the crossroads of the entire music world, not just country music,” Herskovitz also notes, adding that the series will explore more musical styles in episodes to come — which is right in line with Joseph David-Jones’ recent casting as a “modern/eclectic” artist.

Hayden Panettiere, Charles Esten, Jonathan Jackson and many of their castmates are confirmed to return to the show, though Britton is rumored to be leaving the series after she appears in 10 of the upcoming 22 episodes (Britton addressed said speculation earlier this month at the Emmy Awards).

The Lionsgate-produced drama will make its CMT debut with a two-hour Season 5 premiere on Thursday, January 5, at 9/8c; episodes will be available to stream on Hulu the next day.

Press PLAY on the video above to hear everything the EP has to say about the new episodes, then hit the comments to tell us your thoughts!

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. JL says:

    Is the video supposed to cut Marshall Herskovitz off mid-sentence or is there something wrong on my end?

  2. sarah t says:

    Sounds more like S1 (or possibly even better) so I’m definitely on board for that. The music has been sorely lacking the last couple of seasons so happy to have more of that and though I would like to have Connie back for a full season, I don’t think her absence will leave to big of a hole. especially if these leave it open for her to possibly come back.

    • Gena says:

      Agreed. If this means less depressing soap opera and more actual musical numbers, that would be fun. :) (I’d even like to see a little bit more about the business aspect, too…)

  3. Dave says:

    Sounds cheaper, and a way to make more dough with the added music. Well, I’m just glad it’s back.

    • JeffG says:

      It was the soap opera aspect that was brought in “to make more dough”. It didn’t work. Music and songwriting was the original appeal, and remains the only reason to continue. Glad someone has finally recognized that.

  4. Kathryn says:

    Wow! We actually get scenes of Scarlet with her cousin and the rest of the family, which only took FOREVER. It was weird for her to exist outside that family.

  5. Seems like they realize what went wrong with the show so I’m pretty excited for season five (but please let Connie stay).

  6. abz says:

    Part of me kind of wishes we’d still see Aubrey Peeples guest star a bit only because her voice is so beautiful and out of all the music on the show, I find myself mostly going back and listening to her songs. I know why they’ve taken her out of the show, but I blame the writing for how her character turned out. Kinda sucks because she could have been a better character I think than the way they wrote her.
    I hope they explore Will and Kevin’s relationship more and have them sing together too. Also please tone down the Avery waterworks and melodrama.
    AND FINALLY, please reunite Juliet and Rayna more on screen (especially if Connie Britton plans on leaving). Some of the best moments of the show are when the two are together.

  7. Austin Book says:

    I stopped watching after a few episodes in season two, and I plan on giving the show a second chance with the new season. The show was great in the beginning, so I’m excited to see what this season will look like since I have faith in the new showrunners.

  8. Boiler says:

    Really hope ABC has to kick themselves after cancelling this, especially with how other stuff doing

  9. Jason says:

    This is music to my ears. I just hope the rumors about Connie Britton aren’t true.

  10. Summer says:

    Pleased to hear that the new Nashville will be focusing “on the depth and the complexity of the relationships” and will move away from unnecessary soap-opera induced drama. This show’s got so much potential and it could really use a renewed focus on its core characters and on making music.
    I don’t know whether the rumours are true (and I wish CMT would either confirm or dismiss them to put worried fans out of their misery), but for me personally the real heart of the story is Rayna/Deyna, and therefore a Nashville without Rayna would be far too painful to watch. After everything this show has been through and the miraculous new lease of life it’s been given, CMT needs to do everything and more to keep Connie Britton on board for the full season!

  11. CindyWho? says:

    From the very first 5 minutes, I fell in love with Nashville, it’s wonderful characters and talented, believable actors. AND the music was outstanding! As time passed, the writers felt it necessary to create too much conflict and the music became grossly missing. It doesn’t surprise me that it failed in that story line path. For example: Couldn’t Rayna and Deacon enjoy their wedding day and let us finally rejoice at this long standing love story? Thank you for revitalizing Nashville and helping us to enjoy these incredible artists who had increasingly lost the opportunity to share with us their gifts. Thank you for picking up Nashville and making the allowances for more delightful music and “HAPPY ENDINGS”! Please bring back the Blue Bird and allow the music to be complete without interruptions. We need to feel good about the characters we’ve chosen to come into our living rooms and share our evenings. I can hardly wait for Nashville’s rebirth.

  12. Normandy says:

    Why does TV Line use the word “reboot” so wrong so frequently?

    Supergirl realized the Jimmy Olsen love interest storyline was stupid and corrected it in 5 seconds, plus they also had to move to Vancouver and switch networks. Is that also a “reboot”?

  13. Mary says:

    Looking forward to more music and activities of being involved in music. I got really sick of the drama. Everyone has enough of their own so lets be entertained. I love all the actors and hope they all find peace instead of drama. Keep on singing and playing and I will be happy. I only want to see good things happen.

  14. PEZ says:

    Nashville is pretty much Country, Southern Rock, Gospel Music , Christian Country and Singer Songwriter stuff. I hop they keeping that in mind.

  15. Moe says:

    Connie is the heart of the show!!!!!!

  16. christopher bee says:

    I knew it and i will say it again.

    Herskovitz/Zwick is the Team who will improve the Storylines and make space for fantastic intimate Drama acting. And more Music is the icing on the cake. Can´t wait.

  17. Desiree says:

    Yes, yes, YES! Less angsty drama for the sake of angsty drama? More character and relationship-driven storylines? MORE MUSIC?! I am so here for it. 100%

    It’s good to know that the creative people behind this show seem to feel the same way a lot of us fans have been feeling the last couple years. We don’t need all these worn out soap opera tropes and melodrama. We just want good characters and good music. Thank goodness for CMT seeing that the bones of this show were quality.

  18. Ella says:

    This is great news. I think the lack of music and some of the sillier story lines is what killed it on ABC. IMO, it became a soap opera. We loved the music, some real talent on that show.

  19. Ella says:

    Please bring back Zoey!

  20. Lauren says:

    Is there any news of it being picked up in Canada?

  21. Amy H says:

    This is just what I wanted since Season 1. More music, less soap. I think it’s going to be a terrific season..

  22. JeffG says:

    Glad the Nashville producers have realized the overarching iimportance of the MUSIC, and have seen the crass error or their ways in veering off the path and into constant soap opera “scandal”, unlikely tragedy and implausible plot twists in order to appeal to the General Hospital crowd. The music is, and always should have been the core of the show. In the first season, with T-Bone Burnett at the helm, the songwriting and performances were genuine, masterful and believable. The ascension of Buddy Miller to that position was also welcome and appropriate. But it seems Buddy’s good taste and great judgement were at some point eclipsed because some slick marketing wannabe convinced someone else that it was somehow important to bring mainstream pop acts and actors in for the “Ooooh, Shiny!” flash and effect. That never worked, and served only to cheapen and destroy any thread of authenticity that made the series a good idea in the first place.