Nashville is fine-tuning its post-Rayna reboot, adding The O.C.‘s Rachel Bilson and Empire‘s Kaitlin Doubleday in major roles, TVLine has confirmed. The pair will make their debut when the CMT drama kicks off the second half of its current fifth season later this spring.
The two high-profile hires come as the series forges ahead without leading lady Connie Britton, whose alter ego, Rayna, was killed off last month.
Details on the characters Bilson and Doubleday will be playing are being kept under wraps, but both actresses hinted at their respective roles in separate social media posts late Thursday.
“We welcome Rachel and Kaitlin into our incredibly talented ensemble,” said Nashville EP Marshall Herskovitz in a statement. “We fondly anticipate the second half of the season filled with surprising twists and turns that make Nashville so beloved by the fans.”
CMT’s decision to acquire the series from ABC last year has thus far paid off. The series 5 premiere ranked as the cabler’s most-watched telecast in history. And last week’s episode — which focused on the aftermath of Rayna’s death — hit new season highs.
Bilson is coming off of a four-year run on The CW’s Hart of Dixie (in which she at one point broke into song), while Doubleday recently concluded her two-plus season run on Fox’s Empire (where her character Rhonda met an untimely end).
Press PLAY below to watch a sneak peek at Nashville Season 5B, and then hit the comments with your snappy judgement about the show’s newest hires!