To use a phrase popular with one of Nashville‘s main characters, it’s wheels up for Luke and Layla when the country-music drama returns for a fifth season. Series regulars Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples will not be with the show when it makes its CMT debut, TVLine has learned exclusively.
Chase’s Luke had little to do after his engagement with Rayna fizzled in Season 3; most of his Season 4 storyline involved sticking up for Wheelin’ Dealin’ Records artist Will Lexington when he was attacked by a homophobic talk-show host.
Meanwhile, Peeples’ Layla sought to avenge Jeff Fordham’s death by ruining Juliette’s relationship with Avery, but Avery’s discovery of her plan — and his seemingly imminent reunion with Ms. Barnes — meant the end of that storyline.
The exits — which TVLine predicted this spring — come as new executive producers Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (thirtysomething) take over show-running duties, filling the role previously held by Dee Johnson.
Lionsgate, which produces the series, declined to comment.
ABC cancelled Nashville in May, but the drama was revived by the cable network CMT soon after. CMT head of development Jayson Dinsmore recently said that “our expectation and our hope is that [the entire cast] will participate in this next cycle.”
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