Fall TV Preview
Nashville Season 4 Charles Esten

Will Nashville's Deacon Survive? A Cagey Charles Esten Isn't Telling

For a possibly dead guy, Charles Esten looks pretty good.

The Nashville star is standing before a small crowd, guitar slung across his chest, at The Southwest Porch in New York’s Bryant Park a few days before the ABC series’ Season 4 premiere.

Esten — along with Nashville musical contributors/Bluebird Café regulars Kim Richey and Striking Matches — are putting on a free, al fresco concert for the after-work crowd. He rises from his stool and steps to the mic.

“It’s a lot of fun writing from Deacon’s perspective, because he has some issues,” Esten says, strumming a few notes as he introduces a tune called “Whiskey Lips.”

But the audience knows what it’s here for. “Does he live?!” a woman calls from the back.

The question is one Esten has been getting a lot this summer, he tells TVLine during some downtime before the show, given that his alter ego may — or may not — have flatlined in the final moments of the drama’s Season 3 finale. He recalls a moment from a recent pre-gig Q&A session.

“They handed [the mic] to a little girl, a Cindy Lou Who. I said, ‘What’s your question, sweetheart?’ She says, ‘Is Mr. Deacon gonna live?'” He laughs heartily. “I go, ‘That is hardball! That is dirty pool!'”

(Editor’s note: Though we — and Esten  —are not at liberty to say whether or not Deacon will sing with the angels, we can confirm showrunner Dee Johnson’s assertion that you’ll know minutes after the premiere begins.)

Nashville Season 4 Preview Charles Esten

Nashville fans will remember that Deacon and Rayna’s last interaction involved him wanting to get married in his hospital room before he was wheeled into the OR suite — and her gently refusing to give in to his panic. They were at a good place as he left her… but Esten says a lot of Deke’s composure was for show.

“She talked him back to reality a little bit, as she can so well,” he says, smiling wryly. “But then as he was being wheeled out, it’s not like, ‘OK, that’s done. I’m better now.’ [It’s more] ‘I’m going to have to trust you on this one, sweetheart, because I’m not feeling a thing you said.'”

And given the way things played out, Esten adds, he’s glad Deacon didn’t become Mr. Rayna Jaymes under such dire circumstances.

“I understand the concept of why you would,” he quickly adds. “I understand all those reasons are why Deacon wanted it. But Rayna’s reasons,” he pauses to grin, “are extremely valid, too.”

Nashville returns Wednesday at 10/9c (ABC).

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  1. Cat says:

    He is so obviously not going to die!

    • Anna says:

      I agree. I see that they are trying to build some kind of suspense, but it is so not working.

      • Cat says:

        I love many parts of this show, but when the cliffhanger was the flatline last season….I rolled my eyes a little….”Oh, you guys are so cute, trying to mess with our emotions like that.” They shouldn’t have put him on the season poster with Rayna and Juliette! Plus, they released all those promo pics showing her with a big old “the love of my life is alright” smile on her face. I’m not complaining though………I love them together. And he could still suffer side effects or have a sudden relapse and get killed off at midseason (Don’t you even think about it Nashville!)

  2. Brigid says:

    Is there really a doubt in anyone’s mind that Deacon didn’t survive? There may be complications but no way would this show get rid of the female fans favorite male character. Not happening and never a doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t live.

  3. Jan says:

    I’m 99% sure Deacon will live to continue his storyline. However, if per chance, I am wrong, I am switching the channel to another show and not watching “Nashville” again. :) I am glad they have decided not to drag this on.

    • Cat says:

      If they reveal that Deacon died (1 chance in 1 billion), my jaw will hit the floor and I will ROFL. I don’t think it will happen, unless they decide to pull a Greys and show that Rayna “doesn’t need a man”. But they won’t do that………because Rayna has always been the strongest, toughest character on Nashville.

  4. steven says:

    He’s still part of the main cast. HE’S NOT DEAD!!!!!

  5. Larc says:

    They are in the process of taping/filming episodes. Is he going to work each day? That should be easy enough to find out.

  6. A fan of TV says:

    If he dies the show probably does with him because its not like he’s had his happy ending yet with Rayna, its not like the storylines surrounding him have him heavily absent from set throughout the filming season so he’s sparsely in the show anyway…its entirely possible for Rayna and Juliette to carry the show without their men, but considering Rayna and Deacon haven’t had years of happily ever after bliss before an itch sets in like another male lead who died recently, there’s so much that fans still need from this pair, yet.

  7. Bren says:

    My bet is his sister died, anybody want to wager?