Connie Britton Eyes Early Nashville Exit

Nashville fans, start singing the blues in 3, 2, 1…

Sources confirm to TVLine that Connie Britton is poised to exit the drama’s upcoming fifth season on CMT after appearing in just 10 of 22 episodes. It’s unclear at this time how her character, Rayna James, will be written off the show. EW.com was first to report Britton’s reduced workload.

A source close to the show, meanwhile, tells TVLine that negotiations with the Friday Night Lights vet on the length of her Season 5 commitment are ongoing. (UPDATE: Britton breaks her silence!)

The cancelled ABC country-music drama will make its CMT debut with a two-hour premiere on Thursday, January 5, at 9/8c. As previously reported, Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (thirtysomething) have taken over as showrunners.

Meanwhile, fellow leading lady Hayden Panettiere, whose character Juliette’s fate was left hanging in the balance in the Season 4 finale, is expected back for all 22 episodes. The same holds true for co-stars Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Lennon Stella, Maisy Stella and Chris Carmack. Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples, who played Luke and Layla, respectively, will not be back as series regulars.

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